My husband and I recently returned from a two-week trip to Italy. What a surprise…when we arrived in Sorrento and realized that there were lemon trees and lemons everywhere! This area along the coast appeared to be the lemon capital of Italy. There was even an entire lemon orchard on our hotel grounds.
As we walked around the city, we found stall after stall of lemons and lemon themed tourist gifts…aprons, tablecloths, fabric, candies, decorations and pottery. There were so many lemon stands and baskets of lemons that I became very interested in growing my own tree. But alas, after a little research, I realized that citrus trees don’t do well in Utah. Unless of course I have the tree in a pot in my house. Hmmm, that may be a good idea…
Some of the lemons we saw were really huge…the size of grapefruits. I found out later that these are called “citrons” which are similar to lemons, but much bigger.
My mom loves lemon anything. So for her birthday, I got her some soft lemon candies in the little village of Amalfi, along the beautiful coast. Then I added all kinds of lemon-themed gifts…napkins, hard candies, juicer, dip mix etc. She loved it! I even painted a gift bag with lemons, which came out really cute.
Lemons are great in food, but also may be used in aromatherapy. Researchers at Ohio State University found out that lemon oil aroma can enhance our moods. So if you don’t have time to make lemon chicken, just get some lemon essential oils, or cut a lemon in half and smell it!
As a tribute to the lemons of Italy, I am sharing my friend Janet’s Lemon Chicken recipe. When we lived in California, she had us over for dinner one night and served us this dish with mashed potatoes and WOW is it ever delicious!
Janet’s Lemon Chicken
- ¼ cup flour
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 whole chicken (cut up) or 6 chicken breasts
- 2 T olive, avocado or coconut oil
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ½ cup water
- 3 T brown sugar
- 1 ½ T ketchup
- 1 T vinegar
- 1 T corn starch
If using chicken breasts, pound the pieces until they are flat. Dredge chicken (breasts or pieces) in flour mixture and brown it in the oil. Mix remaining ingredients. Pour over chicken in a deep frying pan. Cover and simmer for 45 to 50 minutes.
Crock-pot method: Place browned chicken breasts in crock-pot, add all other ingredients and cook on high for 3-4 hours.
Serve with mashed potatoes or rice, veggies and salad. Delicious!
- I prefer using chicken breasts for this recipe – much easier than cutting up a whole chicken!
- There’s a lot of white sugar in this recipe so feel free to reduce it. I start with 1/2 cup, then taste the sauce for tartness and adjust as needed.
- Thanks to Pixaby for the lemon photos!