Did Diabetes Serve You Up a Life of Lemons?

Bowl o lemon.jpg

Most of us, even those that were expecting it, were feeling pretty sour when our medical professional served us up the diagnosis of Diabetes.

Yes, I know it is overused, but what better choice do you have when life serves you lemons… make lemonade or lemon chicken (see yesterday’s recipe post for lemon sherry chicken).

I am a big fan of using lemons in my cooking and a lot of other things. It, if nothing else, helps you reduce the amount of salt you need in food preparation.

And there is so much more (else):

If you have never had a cup of Espresso with a bit of lemon peel, you have missed a great flavor treat. For no reason that I can explain, the tart lemon smooths out the most bitter of espressos. It may not make sense, it is simply so. We can’t forget all of us natural blondes out there that have used a bit of lemon juice to help nature along.

It is in cooking that this big bright yellow fruit shows its stuff. Perhaps the best thing is that this little yellow gem is a “free” food for those of us with Diabetes.


While I often think that people with Diabetes only miss chocolate desserts, I am pleasantly surprised at the positive responses I get from my lemon dessert recipes. From the classic Tart au Citron (lemon tart) to my infamous Little Lydia’s Literally Lovely Lemon cake, the fans that want some thing light to finish up a meal always choose lemon to steal the show. Lemon is almost always an ingredient in my cheesecakes. It helps to enhance the flavor of the cheese and another favorite, vanilla.


Let’s face it, some of the fruits we get in the “stupidmarket” are not as fresh as we would all like. We have become spoiled expecting strawberries in January and apples in July. A squeeze of lemon alone or in combination with a sweetener helps bring back the fresh taste to berries and melons. A friend of mine ran a breakfast/lunch restaurant. He complained to me that his blueberry muffins lacked any “real” blueberry flavor. I suggested adding a squeeze of lemon and some lemon zest to his batter. He AND his customers loved the change.


Hopefully we have all stopped cooking (all of) the flavor out of our vegetables. A quick blanching (plunging in boiling water for a few minutes) or steaming helps keep the flavor and yes, the nutrients in the vegetables. Roasting in a hot (425° oven) is another great way to retain the flavor. A squeeze of lemon at the end of cooking boasts the flavors even more. You will not believe how a touch of lemon makes that presidential non-favorite taste really good. Sorry Mr. President.


The basic vinaigrette is not only the base of a great dressing; it is traditionally made with lemon…NOT vinegar. Fresh lemon juice is a great dressing for all kinds of salads that have tomatoes as a major ingredient. For that matter lemon makes a great light quick dressing for almost any simple vegetable salad.

Ugh, fish:

Perhaps nowhere else does lemon shine than as an accompaniment to fish. It helps to mask the fragrance and lighten the “ugh fishiness” of fish. With the exception of some shellfish, I can’t imagine not using lemon in a fish preparation or at least on the side to squeeze over the dreaded swimmer.

Ahhh, Chicken:

For the reader so many articles ago who complained about boring chicken, I hope he has mended his ways and taken my suggestions for making it less boring. The first of those suggestions all those years ago was lemon. Lemon as in: lemon chicken, lemon curry chicken, chicken Picatta, chicken with lemon and ginger.

So the next time you feel like Diabetes has handed you a bowlful of lemons; pucker up and give your Diabetes-Compatible dishes a kiss of…..lemon.

ENJOY!!! Be happy, be healthy, and BE DECADENT! –w

Source: Ward Alper, The Decadent Diabetic