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Star Fruit from Paradise Farms
Cultivate

All About the Eureka Lemon

Nick Musica
Published Nov 10, 2021. Read time: 3 mins

We know that the typical symbol for a bright idea is a light bulb, but we here at Fruit Stand humbly suggest changing that norm to the lemon. 

Just think: They’re just as bright and bulbous as a light, with a flavor that’s unique and inspiring. And, in at least one case, it would give you a great excuse to shout out “Eureka!”

Where Do Eureka Lemons Come From 

Lemons might leave a sour taste in the mouth, but that sting is especially sour for historians.

That’s because the true origin of the lemon is a mystery of time, with horticultural experts unable to pin down the fruit’s first home – though it’s thought to be somewhere between Northern India, Southeast China, and Burma.

Indeed, lemons weren’t really on the map until the 1000s, when they became a popular piece of produce in the Mediterranean, and only then were noted for the decorative qualities. The Italians, in particular, were smitten with the citrus fruits, spawning hundreds of cultivars – and that’s where the Eureka lemon got its start. Sort of.

The fruit is a descendant of the Italian lemon varietal called the Lunario. In English, the name translates to “money,” and using it to create the Eureka certainly turned out to be a profitable idea. 

A California farmer by the name of Thomas Garey was first able to triumphantly shout out the name of his signature lemon in 1858, after a few years of mixing-and-matching different Lunario offspring. And by 1877, he had the formula down, bringing the inspiring fruit to the market at large.

What Do Eureka Lemons Taste Like

Lucky for Garey, it didn’t take long for the market to catch on, thanks, in no small part, to the Eureka’s signature taste.

The lemon is perfect balance of tart and sharp, with an oily rind that bursts with citrus flavor and scent. And, thanks to Garey’s years of work, the Eureka lemon tree has been practically perfected, noted among growers for its preternatural consistency in terms of taste, size and quality. 

In fact, the Eureka lemon has also picked up the nickname “Four Seasons Lemon” thanks to this reputation and the tree’s nearly year-round growing season. But it could also be argued that the nickname points to the fruit’s particular hardiness, with a thick skin that elongates its shelf-life and allows it to be easily shipped without fear of bruising.

The happy combination of Eureka traits led to the lemon’s quick rise in popularity, and today, it’s perennially among the top types of lemons you can find at the store, with its sharp taste practically becoming synonymous with lemons themselves.

Which is an especially good thing for anyone who may want to use the lemon for anything other than decoration.

What Can You Do With Eureka Lemons? 

Indeed, the bevy of awesome qualities found in Eureka lemons make them a no less than a culinary superstar.

Can you use them to make jams? Yup! Cakes? Yes. Candy? Absolutely!

The extra-sharp bite of the Eureka lemon makes it pair exceptionally well with sweet recipes, allowing the whole thing to round out in flavor, and producing a more well-balanced result.

But Eureka lemons are also great for savory treats that need to be punched up a notch. All thanks to the cultivar’s prodigious oil glands, which produce a much sharper, more pungent taste than many other types of lemon. 

The same oily nature makes the Eureka’s skin a particularly good zesting option, certain to carry the fresh citrus taste and scent farther than other types of lemon. And the thick quality of their flesh makes them an ample source for juice. 

But if cooking isn’t you’re thing, you’re still in luck! Eureka lemons are great for making essential oils, which can brighten up anything from the smell of a house to the perkiness of your skin. Their oily rinds can also be used as clever, all-natural cleaning hacks, with the citric acid capable of clearing away stains on everything from glassware to the kitchen sink.

In fact, the only thing Eureka lemons aren’t advisable for is eating raw. Their powerful bite is just a bit too much for most – and unless you have a tongue made of steel, you’ll likely end up shouting out something far less awe-inspired.

Still, with their dependability and never-ending uses, we think Eureka lemons are pretty brilliant.

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