I don’t always buy organic, but when it comes to lemons, I make no exceptions. Why? Because there’s a lot more to lemons than their tart, juicy flesh; their aromatic skin is also edible, and an amazing flavor booster in both sweet and savory recipes. Because pesticide residue settles in the skin of fruits and vegetables, it’s a healthy investment to pay a bit more for organic lemons so you can reap all the tasty benefits.
Sure, I swoon over summer basil just like everyone else, but the herb that has my heart and soul is lemon verbena. Each year, I buy more lemon verbena plants than the last, squeezing them into window boxes between the geraniums and tucking them next to tomato plants in my small container garden. And each year, I pick, pluck, and trim the stems several times throughout the summer to dry for herbal tea through the winter because I simply can’t get enough of the soothing, floral, lemony flavor.
Its rounded shape and heady perfume distinguish the Meyer lemon from your typical supermarket variety. A hybrid of an orange and a conventional lemon, the Meyer lemon is prized among cooks for its low acidity and sweet-tart flavor. Here's how to use it while it's in season (right now!).
The people of Spain deserve a muy grande gracias for coming up with one of the best things known to cooks anywhere: smoked paprika. Smoked paprika is typically made from mild red peppers, which are dried over an oak fire in special smokehouses. This is what gives the pimentón ahumado its deliciously haunting depth of flavor. I buy the deep-red powder in colorful 2.6 oz-tins at my local Spanish import store, but I’ve also found it in mainstream supermarkets. If you’re unable to source it at a store near you, you can find smoked paprika at Amazon.com and other online retailers.