Lemons are one of the most versatile ingredients you’ll find in a kitchen. They can add a touch of tartness to just about any recipe, breakfast, dinner, and sweets included. You can squeeze out their tart, vitamin C-filled juice to make a refreshing cup of lemonade, add tang to salad dressing, or make a favorite dessert like lemon meringue pie. Even the peel is useful—lemon zest can brighten up sweet or savory dishes, from cakes and icings to pilafs and potatoes. As much as we love using fresh lemons, they have one major flaw: Those seeds that you have to pick out of the fruit or fish out of the juice.
The Wonderful Company
Some lemon-juicing tools are designed to separate out the seeds, but if you’re just using your hands or trying to add a squirt of lemon juice from a wedge, you’ve always got to keep an eye out for a surprise seed. Until now, there’s been no escaping them, as nearly all lemons have seeds (though you might get lucky and find one with just a few rather than a dozen or more). But thanks to The Wonderful Company, which also produces Halos seedless mandarins, completely seedless lemons are finally a reality.
Compared to other fruits that have been bred to be seedless like watermelons, lemons have proven more difficult to persuade to stop making their annoying seeds. As The Los Angeles Times reported, that's because most of the lemon varieties grown today (like Eureka and Lisbon) are closely related to a single common citrus ancestor. The limited lemon gene pool makes it much harder to breed for one specific trait, like seedlessness. But one very patient farmer in Australia, who spent years trying to produce less seedy lemons, finally discovered a tree in his orchard that grew completely seedless lemons.
In order to bring this new seedless lemon to the market in the U.S., The Wonderful Company planted over 3,000 acres in California with it. And since the initial mutation occurred naturally, Wonderful Seedless Lemons are Non-GMO Project Verified (which means they’ve got a seal of approval from the Non-GMO Project and haven’t been genetically modified).
Now, just in time for the holiday baking season, you’ll be able to try them out for yourself. Wonderful Seedless Lemons are coming to grocery stores nationwide this November, and you’ll even be able to order them online from Amazon Fresh. They’ll be available in one- and two-pound bags; a one-pound bag with four lemons starts at $3.49, and two-pound bags start at $6.99. Because this is their first year in stores, the seedless lemons will be available in a limited supply from now through May 2020. According to The Wonderful Company, the plan is to expand to year-round availability in the future.
Soon, lemons with seeds might be a thing of the past—seedless clementines and mandarin oranges both exploded in popularity after they hit grocery stores several years ago, and today we can't imagine these fruits any other way. For now, we're excited to give Wonderful Seedless Lemons a try in all our favorite holiday recipes.