The lemon of Sorrento
As yellow as the hot Summer sun. Indigenous to India and Indo-China, the lemon is a symbol and a representation of Mediterranean countries.
Known for its therapeutic properties and considered sacred in Islamic countries, the fruit of the colour of the sun spreads throughout the West around the year 1000 thanks to its Arabian importation to Sicily.
Oval typical of the Mediterranean vegetation, it owes its name to the Persian “limu”. The earliest European cultivation was planted in Genoa in the first half of the 15th century, also its appearance in the Azores goes back to this date.
The yellow fruit comes to America at the end of the 15th century, after Christopher Columbus’s discovery, thanks to its introduction by the Spanish.
The development of lemon cultivations in the regions of Southern Italy, from Sicily to Campania, occurs after the discovery of the numerous beneficial properties of the fruit. In fact, it reveals itself a miraculous medicine of scurvy, a pathology caused by lack of C vitamin the lemon, instead, is rich in.
In the Italian territory the lemon cultivation boasts a long tradition and an incomparable quality level. Needy of modest cares and suitable for poor soils, the lemon tree cannot stand the cold but it does not need any particularly high temperatures to give its fruits. Thanks to these characteristics, it has well adapted itself to the mild and temperate climate which characterizes the seaboards of Southern Italy which soon, since antiquity, began a prosperous production of the citrus tree. For centuries, in particular from 1400 to 1800, Italians exported huge quantities of lemons at a world level, above all to Northern Europe and America.
Among the so many varieties present in the national territory, the lemon of Sorrento IGP. An integral part of the landscape of the Sorrento Coast, fragrant scent of the atmospheres of the Coast, the “femminiello comune ovale di Sorrento”, with a medium- thick peel, rich in essential oils, is one of the elements making part of the cultural identity of inhabitants in the Sorrento Coast. Sorrento lemon plantations and the ones of the Amalfi Coast, which in the course of centuries have increased in number and width, represent one of the main resources for inhabitants in the area, who have removed steep and impenetrable soils from the impassable nature of coasts, to fit them on the cultivation of lemon trees. Protected by the logo of the Protection Authority, the lemon of Sorrento IGP is one of the most precious products of Campania, so that its production is very often sold before its harvest. It represents, for Sorrento and Amalfi agriculture, one of the most profitable and performing resources under the economic point of view.
Besides numerous therapeutic properties, which make it an efficient remedy to depurate one’s body, to improve immune defences, to protect vascular walls, to be a very good hypotensive and a natural antirheumatic, the yellow fruit boasts a wide use in various fields. Basic ingredient of Mediterranean cooking, it is used for the preparation of delicious first and second courses, but also of tasty alcoholic and soft drinks and of very good cakes.