Organic lemon peel extract
The lemon (Citrus limon) is full of vitamins and is known and appreciated as a vitamin C bomb. But it would not do justice to the yellow beauty to reduce it to its vitamins alone, because it has many other benefits, such as fiber, essential oils and secondary plant components. What is often unknown and unnoticed: the lemon peel is far more beneficial than lemon juice! Because the peel not only contains more aromatic substances, but also much more nutrients. Only organic lemons are suitable for the safely consuming the peel, because a large part of the conventional herbicides and pesticides are absorbed by the peel. We naturally use only organic lemon peel extract (“Citri pericarpium”) for our BERTRAND drinkable meals.
The origin of our organic lemon peel extract
The entirety of all citrus plants – and therewith lemons as well – have a considerable economic importance. They are among the most widely grown fruits in the world. The lemon originates from the Indian metropolitan area. In the Chinese empire, it was already known before the beginning of our era. Our organic lemons grow in ecologically operated plantations in Morocco and Israel. In the midwinter season, our fruits mainly come from Morocco, in the midsummer season, largely from Israel. This is when the best conditions for ripening and harvesting can be found in the respective regions. The quality of the fruit is then particularly good and the ingredients highly concentrated. Our suppliers do not use chemical pesticides or artificially produced mineral fertilizers. We specifically use beneficial insects for pest control.
How is lemon peel extract produced?
Citrus plants, which besides lemons also count, for example, limes, oranges, kumquats, mandarins and grapefruits, each with numerous varieties, all belong to the genus “Citrus” and the rue family. Botanically speaking, they are berries. Their cultivation follows a very specific plan.
HEAT AND WIND PROTECTION
Lemons are grown in plantations that are usually divided into three different sections. Newly planted trees account for one-third, old trees for another third, and the final third is made up of trees that are in full vigor and produce the current yield. Production occurs on all areas at the same time, although yields may vary. The fruits of the old trees are not as numerous, but they are of high quality. Ideally, lemons grow on southern slopes with plenty of heat and protection from the wind. Citrus fruits do not tolerate frost, however, they need the evening cool down. Otherwise, they remain green on the outside and do not develop their beautiful yellow color. In organic cultivation, special attention is paid to the soil: the humus content must be correct, underplanting with green manure plants provides nutrients. The cultivation of new plantations, i.e. the propagation of trees, is usually done by cuttings. This is called vegetative propagation. The cuttings are identical to the mother plant, and the trees later bear “true variety” fruit.
TWO METHODS FOR HARVESTING
With all citrus fruits, the right time of harvest is important, because they do not ripen. This is, of course, also the case with lemons. Two methods can be used for harvesting: In some cases, the fruit is still harvested from the trees by hand so as to not damage the peel. However, it is more common – especially on large plantations – to harvest with the aid of a vibrating machine. The fruits are then collected in collection tarpaulins. Harvesting is possible all year round, as citrus trees bear both flowers and fruit at the same time. However, the main harvesting season is in autumn and winter.
WE NEED THE WAITING TIME
AFTER THE HARVEST
After harvesting, which should be done as gently as possible – undamaged peels prevent post harvest losses – the fruit is initially stored for about five days. During this time, the outer cells of the husk lose some water, making it firmer and thus more resistant. Overall, the fruits shrink a little during this “waiting time”. Unlike conventionally grown lemons, the organic fruits for BERTRAND drinkable meals are not treated any further. They are only washed, but neither waxed nor sprayed with preservatives.
THE LEMONS ARE PEELED
To produce lemon peel extract, the organic lemons must be first peeled. The peel consists of two layers, the outer yellow and the inner white. The yellow layer is called flavedo or exocarp by experts and the inner white layer is called albedo or mesocarp. Both layers together form the pericarp. The pericarp is where the various valuable ingredients that make up the lemon peel extract are located. However, both layers differ significantly in their aroma. While the yellow outer layer has a distinctly fruity and refreshing citrus aroma, the white layer tastes rather bitter. The lemons are peeled by machine. Then, a so called “dry extract” is produced, which means an extracted substance (Latin: extrahere = to pull out). In this process, the peels are placed in a solvent, such as water. This is then evaporated again, leaving behind a solid substance. This is called “Extractum siccum”, that is, dry extract.
DRYING AND GRINDING
For BERTRAND drinkable meals, we need a dry extract that has a very low residual moisture content. Otherwise our products would clump together. The powder is created by passing the substance obtained by extraction through a further drying process. Through elaborate freeze drying, moisture is further eliminated from the lemon peels. Freeze drying (also known as sublimation drying or lyophilization) is a particularly gentle drying process. It is used for foods in which valuable ingredients and flavors are to be preserved. First, the material to be dried is frozen in order to solidify the water therein into ice crystals. Then, under extreme vacuum conditions, the frozen water is converted from the solid to the gaseous state in the main drying process (sublimation). Only a small amount of energy (heat) may be added during this process. In the third step, post drying takes place, wherein any residual water still contained (“adsorbed water”) is now removed from the product by lowering the vacuum while simultaneously applying a small amount of heat. During freeze drying, the nutritional value of the initial product is preserved and the ingredients retain their full potency. The organic citrus peels, which are now very dry, are finally finely ground and are now ready to be incorporated into our drinkable meals.
Why lemon peels?
Everyone knows that lemon juice has a high content of healthy components. It’s a different story with the peel: It usually goes to waste. However, the lemon peel sometimes contains five to ten times more nutrients than the juice. Vitamin C in particular is immediately mentioned when it comes to the beneficial nutrients of a lemon. In fact, lemon juice is a very good source of vitamin C, with 53 mg per 100 grams. But the peel contains as much as 129 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams. Vitamin C is known as an immune booster that eliminates free radicals. But it is also needed to promote the absorption of iron into the body, build up connective tissue, support wound healing and facilitate the formation of messenger substances in the nervous system.
However, the content of B vitamins in lemon peel extract is also high and this is what we value in our product composition. Lemon peel contains 0.17 mg of vitamin B6 (juice: 0.08 mg), 0.08 mg of vitamin B2 (juice: 0.02 mg) and 0.32 mg of vitamin B5 (juice: 0.19 mg) – each based on 100 grams. A good supply of B vitamins is essential for the nervous system, energy and fat metabolism and the immune system.
All vitamins are well bioavailable in the organic lemon peel extract. Thus, lemon peel extract in our BERTRAND drinkable meal contributes to the overall supply of vitamins C and B in particular.
In addition, lemon peel has a high calcium content of 134 mg per 100 grams (juice: 26 mg). The mineral serves as a building block for bones and teeth, it stabilizes our cell walls and it is involved in the transmission of nerve signals.
Last but not least, lemon peel has plenty of dietary fiber, namely 11 g per 100 grams (juice: 2.8 grams), as well as a high content of secondary plant compounds (flavonoids, pectins). Bitter substances, which are mainly found in the white part of the peel, promote digestion. The essential oils of lemon peel are mainly used for flavoring and fragrance. They are used in both the food and cosmetics industries. They lend a light freshness to our BERTRAND drinkable meals.
1. Image of farmer’s hand at top of page: Marco Ossino via Shutterstock
2. World map – Mediterranean in the centre: cash1994 via Shutterstock
3. Post image, Lemon Zest on white background: AmyLv via Shutterstock