Now that the 80th Fête du Citron® in Menton is over, what to do with nearly 200 tons of citrus fruits? Here are some suggestions!

Lemons and mandarins are a favorite the world over, and an essential food in any kitchen. Even though acidic to taste, they are alkaline forming in the body, making them great for balancing highly acidic conditions.

The health and beauty benefits of these fruits are many and varied. Fresh juice added to a large glass of water in the morning is a great liver detoxifier. Instead of your morning cup of coffee, squeeze in some lime juice into a glass of warm water and top it with honey. The citric acid in lemon juice helps to dissolve gallstones, calcium deposits, and kidney stones. The lemon peel contains the potent phytonutrient tangeretin, which has been proven to be effective for brain disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Lemons have powerful antibacterial properties; experiments have found the juice of lemons destroy the bacteria of malaria, cholera, diphtheria, typhoid and other deadly diseases. 

Blood vessels are strengthened by the Vitamin P in lemons, thus preventing internal haemorrhaging, and making it useful in treating high blood pressure. The symptoms of eye disorders, including diabetic retinopathy, have been shown in research to improve due to Rutin, which is found in lemons. Lemons contain 22 anti-cancer compounds, including naturally occurring limonene, an oil which slows or halts the growth of cancer tumours in animals, and flavonol glycosides which stop cell division in cancer cells.

Lemons on a lemon tree

For those of you with oily skin, nothing works like the good old lemon. Get that greasy look off your face by just rubbing the wonder fruit on the face and neck area. Lemon can also be used as a hair conditioner; rubbing a few drops of the juice on your hair can also help in getting rid of dandruff. Combine it with henna for that lovely shine. Apply lemon juice with milk or cream before your daily bath. Leave it for 15 minutes, wash it off and get a good dose of beauty sleep to wake up to a fresh glowing day.

Being a fundamental ingredient of seafood dishes in Italy and other Mediterranean countries, citrus are one of the most popular sweet treat flavours. From the nationally celebrated beverages, Limoncello and Mandarincello, to tart, citrusy flavour featured in biscotti, gelato, and cakes.

Limoncello and Mandarincello are the traditional liqueurs prepared with the peel of the fruit. Limoncello is a natural liqueur, with special properties, a unique taste, perfumed, obtained by an ancient and simple recipe. It’s relatively simple to create, without added colouring, stabilizing or conserving agents. The simple production emphasizes the originality and the purity, just like times long ago.

If you want to experience the genuine taste of Italy at home, try this Limoncello recipe. And remember, a bottle also makes a lovely present and is a great aid to digestion…!



Once this drink is prepared, leave it for 1 month for the flavour to develop – it’s worth the wait. The leftover mandarin flesh here can be juiced to add to drinks or sauces – it’s wonderful in marinades for pork. Chill the drink in the freezer for 1 hour before serving, but no longer, as its low alcohol content means it will freeze.

12-16 Mandarins
1 litre Vodka
500g granulated sugar

Wash the mandarins, then dry and peel them. Put the peel in a lidded container with the vodka. Leave it to macerate for 5–7 days, shaking it 1–2 times a day. Bring 750ml water and the sugar to a simmer in a pan; stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. Cool. Strain the vodka into a large bowl, discarding the peel. Add the sugar syrup, stir with a wooden spoon, then filter through muslin (or a sieve lined with kitchen paper). Pour it into wine bottles and stopper. Et voilà – and remember, always drink in moderation.

Many would agree that the real essence of friendship can be found in gifts from the kitchen. Limoncello, Mandarincello, chutneys, jams, flavoured vinegars, olive oils and jellies are pretty and make really personal presents. What’s more they can be prepared well ahead of time, and stored until needed. It is also well worth looking out for unusual jars and pots to make it even more attractive!

Lead image credit: poznyakov / 123RF Stock Photo; photograph of lemons © Chugy on Flickr (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivs 2.0 Generic licence)


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