The Eureka lemon tree is easily the most popular lemon in the United States. This lemon got its start nearly 200 years ago in Los Angeles and has since taken the world by storm.
The Eureka lemon is a delicious treat used in countless dishes from simple lemon water to 5-star main courses. You can even use this lemon in candy recipes and preserves.
Let’s take a look at the history of this lemon, what you’ll need to grow your own, and what you can cook when life hands you lemons.
History of the Eureka Lemon
The Eureka lemon tree has an interesting history. Prior to California entering into the lemon industry, most lemons in America were shipped in from Italy. It was actually the Lunario lemon that was the predecessor of the Eureka.
In 1858, the Eureka lemon tree was first grown out of seedlings planted in California. It wouldn’t be until 1877 that this lemon was first introduced to the public. Today, the Eureka lemon tree is easily the most popular lemon in the United States and one of the most popular in the world!
Eureka Lemon Tree and Fruit Characteristics
The Eureka lemon tree is ideal for small gardens or even indoor spaces because it is a very small lemon tree. The branches also have a very short spread which gives this tree a small total footprint.
The fruit is typically oval to round with a pitted yellow skin. The flesh of this lemon is greenish yellow with a low seed count. The eureka lemon tree is amazingly consistent in terms of both how it grows and the taste and texture of the fruit.
If you’re thinking of growing your own, here’s what you should know.
This is an interesting point for the eureka lemon. It is technically classified with zones 8-10, but because it is so easy to grow and so hearty, you can grow it in any zone as long as it’s indoors and has enough sunlight.
Size and Spacing
Technically you could let this tree grow to nearly 20-feet tall, but most prune the eureka back down to somewhere between 9 and 15 feet. These trees also need about 9-feet of space between them and their neighbors.
Like many commercial fruits, the eureka lemon tree is self-pollinating. You can add a fan to help “shake” the flowers during pollination, but that isn’t strictly necessary. You can also manually pollinate this tree to ensure a good growth cycle, but this is also not necessary.
With that said, access to pollinators and other plants in its flower group as well as some outside time can all help with the pollination.
Now that you’ve got a eureka lemon in your living room, how do you take care of it?
These are full sunlight trees. They love to soak up as many rays as they can get. This tree will do best out in the sun in your garden. If you’re growing this indoors, you might want to make sure that it is parked near a window, or you can carry the planter outside in the warmer months to let the tree get some natural sunlight.
The eureka lemon is a tolerant plant. It doesn’t need extreme watering, but depending on the humidity of your environment, you should water this tree around twice each week. Make sure the soil is damp, but not soaking.
If you’ve got your eureka potting, be on the lookout for root rot. This can happen if your container doesn’t have adequate drainage and you water too frequently. You’re going to want to make sure that a potted lemon tree is in a container that is not only big enough to accommodate the final size, but also has drainage in place to prevent any rot from taking hold.
You’re going to want to tackle pruning your lemon tree somewhere between February and April. Before spring really gets started and right around when winter is just starting to end.
Prune healthy branches about a quarter inch above a healthy bud to promote and direct new growth. Branches thicker than an inch will need to be sawed and cut with care paid to not harm the tree.
If you spot dead or dying branches, make sure to prune those away in the early spring to promote more energy being given to the fruiting branches.
This is a good beginner fruiting tree partly because of how forgiving it is when it comes to pruning mistakes.
Now that you know the 101 for growing your own eureka lemon, here’s what you can do with all that fruit!
Common Uses For The Fruit
This lemon is a culinary all-star. It can be cooked, turned into candy, and go with sweet or savory dishes. This is the go-to choice for versatile and tasty lemon-based dishes the world over.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular and most delicious uses for the eureka lemon!
What Does This Fruit Taste Like?
The eureka lemon is what you are probably used to getting from your local store. No matter how you slice it, pun intended, when you think of that refreshing lemon taste, it’s probably a eureka that you’re thinking of!
These lemons are tart and sharp with a refreshing taste that stands up to transportation and storage at the grocery store very well. This vibrancy has been part of the reason why they are so popular.
Temper that tartness down with some crafty cooking techniques, and you’ve got a great ingredient for a variety of recipes.
Cooking with the fruit of the eureka lemon tree is so easy. This lemon is in everything from savory dishes to desserts and drinks.
A great place to start with this lemon is by making lemonade. If you’re looking to get more out of the eureka, try tackling savory recipes that enhance their acidity with a little lemon. Lemon desserts can range from candies to cakes.
The sky’s the limit when you cook with the eureka lemon.
You can definitely eat the eureka lemon raw, but that’s probably best saved for the very brave. These are lemons, after all, and they are very sharp and tart when consumed without cooking. With that said, there are some raw applications that work for just about everyone.
Adding a few raw lemon slices to water or tea is a great way to enhance the depth of your flavor and get a little more nutrition out of your drinks.
Don’t want to use your lemons today? Eurekas stand up very well to preserving.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
There are so many ways to preserve eureka lemons.
The most common way is to give them the freeze! You can juice the lemons and freeze the juice in ice cube trays. You can also zest these lemons and freeze the zest on its own. You should zest the lemons before freezing them whole and when you’re ready, wrap them in foil to keep them from drying out.
Canning and preserving are other great ways to preserve these lemons. You can make jams, can them in slices, and even salt these lemons to put them up.
Lemons dry nicely whether they are being candied along the way or you are looking to dehydrate them for later use.
Eureka Lemon Recipes
Want to dive into a great dish that is lemon forward while still letting other fruits join in the fun? This eggless lemon plum cake mixes the best of both worlds while taking an innovative approach to a classic dessert.
Now that we’re cooking with lemons, what are they doing for our health? (Besides improving our mood by way of tasting great!)
Health Benefits of The Eureka Lemon
Tasting great not enough? Need more reasons to love the eureka lemon? The health benefits of lemons are widely known and really helpful.
The vitamin C in these lemons is helpful for everything from skin health to our immune systems. That’s just the start. Drinking lemon water can help keep you hydrated and pep you up when you’re feeling sluggish.
Hot tea with lemons or hot lemon water can also help ease a sore throat and clear the sinuses.
Ready to get started with your very own lemon tree? Here’s where you can get one.
Where To Buy The Eureka Lemon Tree?
The Eureka lemon tree is available through a variety of online retailers and most local home and garden stores. You can check out lemon trees online at Nature Hills Nursery. This is a very popular tree, and arguably the most popular lemon tree, which makes it pretty easy to find.
Where To Buy The Fruit
This is the star of the lemon world which means you can find it anywhere produce is sold. These lemons are so popular they even occasionally pop up in corner stores that don’t usually stock fresh produce!
As with all fruits, it’s best to get these as fresh as you possibly can. If you live near a farm or have a local farmer’s market, that’s where you can get the best eureka lemons.
Make a Eureka Lemon Part of Your Garden
The Eureka lemon tree is the all star of the citrus world. This hearty tree does great in lots of different climates and can even be grown indoors under the right conditions. If you want to enjoy delicious Eureka lemons all year long, you should grow your own lemon tree today.
Want to know about other kinds of lemons? Visit our Lemons hub page for blog posts about lemon varieties, how to grow healthy trees, and what to do with your fruit harvest.