Organic practices enhance the flavor of lemons from Spain

One way to highlight the benefits of organic foods is through comparisons of the nutritional and flavor qualities to nonorganic foods. Some argue singular comparisons about something as complex as agriculture hinders discussion on how to overcome its challenges and improve. In light of this, it is useful to know when a farming practice invokes a different outcome, especially with organic interest and acreage accelerating in Europe. 

This is what researchers in Spain did with a regional variety of lemon called “Fino 49.” A study published in Agronomy this month revealed that lemons produced using organic methods had more aroma than those using non-organic methods, despite their smaller size. In a consumer test, participants preferred organic lemons for their flavor, odor, and acidity.  

Lemons of comparable size and appearance were harvested from organic and non-organic orchards in Alicante, Spain and measured for their sensory and physical attributes. In a consumer survey, one hundred participants were given juice samples and asked for their impressions of the lemons’ flavor and appearance.  

Nonorganic lemons were larger while organic lemons were smaller and rounder but similar in color. The researchers’ takeaway is that organic cultivation practices from the study changed the shape and taste of the lemons, noting that certain qualities of the lemons stood out more than others when it came to farming practice. Consumers want attractive and good-tasting fruit but are often focused on price and appearance, not realizing that aroma is the most important characteristic for flavor.