When juicing lemons, we instinctively avoid the seeds. Some do it because they don’t want seeds in the juice, others do it because they dislike the flavor, and some might even avoid it because they think it is toxic!
But what is the deal with lemon seeds? Are lemon seeds edible? Yes, lemon seeds are completely edible and have several health benefits too. Though they might not taste great, they are completely harmless to people who aren’t allergic or have never reacted adversely after having them.
Read below to learn more about lemon seeds, what they taste like, their nutritional benefits, and some ways you can eat them!
Lemon Seeds As Food
A lemon rarely has any utility beyond providing either lemon juice or zest. But unbeknownst to many, lemons can also be eaten whole, including the seeds!
Lemons are loaded with micronutrients and are a great source of Vitamin C. They can be used to make beverages, savory foods, desserts, and more.
On their own, lemons have a very sour flavor, and depending on the type of lemon, they can either have an intensely sour or a refreshingly sour taste.
This comes in handy when making different recipes but in many cultures, people always use whatever species is available to them.
Lemon consists of a hard outer skin which is also called the lemon peel or rind. Underneath it is another thin layer called “the white pith”.
This layer protects the pulp which holds most of the lemon juice and its nutrients. Finally, at the center of every lemon are a set of seeds that naturally grow to about a quarter of an inch.
You can get different flavors from the lemon depending on what part you use. For example, larger lemons can be grated for their zest. The shavings or zest of lemon usually have a slightly bitter but refreshingly citrusy flavor.
The zest adds the aroma of lemons and can also uplift both the presentation and flavor of any dish! However, if you were to bite into the peel of the lemon, you would probably get a strong bitter flavor.
This is also true for the seeds too! It turns out that the seeds and the white pith of the lemon contain similar chemicals that give them a stronger bitter flavor.
But does this bitterness result in toxicity? No!
The bitterness of lemon seeds has nothing to do with toxicity. Rather it has more to do with the presence of salicylic acid, an ingredient found in Aspirin!
This allows the seeds to also have anti-bacterial properties, which can come in handy if you are a believer in natural medicine.
How Much Is Too Much?
Too much of anything can make you sick. This applies to lemon seeds too!
While lemon seeds have a decent nutritional profile and contain important compounds to help fight infection and disease, they may also cause adverse effects.
Having a few seeds every day isn’t a big deal but if you are having multiple lemons each day throughout the week then you might want to slow down.
People have reported falling sick from eating too many lemon seeds. Most of these people reportedly encountered digestive issues which they eventually recovered from.
However, it is still worth mentioning that you should limit your intake of lemon seeds to about 1-2 per day.
While these adverse effects seem to vary from person to person, if you are generally not allergic to lemons or have never had any side effects from accidentally eating the seeds before then you should be good!
Lemon seeds are bound to end up in food either through intention or by accident, and there have been virtually no reports of this causing any issue, so far.
So, it comes down to your personal preference! If you dislike dealing with seeds in your food then avoid it. If not, then you can try it out in different ways!
Using Lemon Seeds
Lemon seeds can be used and consumed in food or beverages. If you want to consume them for their medicinal or nutritional benefits then we recommend that you just half them with a knife and swallow them whole.
Halving the seeds may cause them to not interfere with digestion and may aid in the absorption of nutrients too. Since there is a chance that the whole seeds may just pass via stool without being digested.
There is also another way to enjoy lemon seeds and that is to bite into them. A word of caution though, lemon seeds are very bitter!
Their bitterness is perhaps one of the primary reasons why people dislike them so much. They have the potential to ruin an otherwise delicious bite and can drastically overpower any flavor.
Another thing to note is that their bitterness usually lasts longer, even if you rinse your mouth with water.
Here are a few tips on consuming lemon seeds:
- Half the lemon using a very sharp knife right in the middle. This way you will be able to cut through the seeds with one swift cut. Slicing loose seeds may be difficult as they are quite slippery and you may accidentally cut your finger.
- Hand-squeeze a lemon without filtering it in a cup of water and add any sugar or fruit syrup to make a refreshing drink. Rose syrup and lemon juice, for example, make for an excellent combination on a hot summer day! Just consume the beverage as usual and swallow the seeds as you finish the glass.
- Lemon seeds may also be added to just a cup of water. There have been many studies that link the consumption of lemon-infused water to various health and digestive benefits. If you do want to try the seeds then this is a great way to just swallow them whole without dealing with their bitterness.
- Since lemon seeds have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, they can be used superficially on wounds or for certain skin conditions as well. Just grind the seeds and turn them into a fine powder. You may also air-dry the seeds before grinding them to make things easier.
When To Avoid Lemon Seeds
As mentioned, lemon seeds have several health benefits but there are some cases where you should avoid them.
For example, you should avoid feeding animals lemon seeds. The seeds may cause serious digestive issues and in some extreme cases, serious ailments too.
Lemon seeds contain certain chemicals and enzymes that may not be as harmful to humans but may have a serious effect on pets. This is especially true for dogs! Never feed your pets any fruit or seeds without researching or talking to a vet!
This also applies to human babies too. Children should generally avoid eating lemon seeds if they are either allergic or have had an adverse reaction to them in the past.
Thankfully, lemon seeds only seem to cause digestive issues but it is always better to be safe than to be sorry!
If you have consumed lemon seeds then do not worry. Most of the time it will cause no problem but if you have had a bad history with them then we highly recommend that you talk to a general physician for more information.
Lemon seeds are mildly nutritious and possess anti-bacterial properties which makes them great for mild consumption and external use.
If you don’t mind their bitterness and have never negatively reacted to them then there is nothing wrong with eating a few lemon seeds once in a while!
Now that you know all about them, here are a few great related questions regarding the use of lemon seeds!
Can you use lemon seeds for culinary purposes?
You can try using lemon seeds in recipes but they have very little culinary utility because of their bitterness.
However, lemon seeds can come in handy when making jam. Since they contain pectin, the seeds can be hydrated in water until they form a gel around them.
You can experiment with different quantities of seeds to see how much gel you will need to thicken a batch of jam!
Can you buy lemon seeds online?
Yes, lemon seeds can be bought online and may even be available in supermarkets. You can also save the seeds from the lemons that you use at home.
Storing the seeds is very easy. Just add them to a zip-lock bag and store them in the freezer. The seeds should remain edible for a very long time!
Can you grow lemons from dried lemons seeds?
Yes, you can grow lemons using any type of lemon seed. Lemon plants are highly tolerable and can be grown in various climates—even with not-so-stellar growing conditions!
So, if you have spare seeds in the kitchen then we highly recommend that you try growing them in your garden! Please refer to online resources on the particulars on how to grow them and how much water they require.