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Waxed Lemons and Other Citrus Fruits

Asked by ve_natalia. Answered on 24th April 2011

Full question

Hello Nigella's Team, can we use the rind of a waxed lemon? And how can we get rid of the wax? Thank you very much.

Our answer

Fruit producers tend to spray the skin of citrus fruits with a thin layer of wax after the fruit is harvested. This is done to keep the skin of the fruit looking fresh and provides some protection for the skin during transit. It also adds a shine. Although the wax is considered safe for consumption, most people would prefer not to ingest it if possible. In supermarkets it is often possible to buy unwaxed lemons and Seville oranges sold for making marmalade are usually unwaxed.

It is relatively easy to remove the wax coating from a citrus fruit. Put the fruit in a colander and pour over water from a recently boiled kettle or rinse the fruit under a hot running tap. Scrub the fruit all over with a stiff brush, such as a vegetable brush, under a cool running tap but try not to use a brush or scrubbing sponge that you use for dishes as this could cause some soap residue to get on to the fruit. Rinse the fruit thoroughly with cold water and leave to dry, or dry with paper towels.

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