Anyone who’s bitten into a lemon knows what they taste like: a face-wrinkling, lip-puckering sour. By themselves, lemons are too sour for many people.
But this isn’t necessarily true for other citrus fruits, like the orange. So why are lemons more sour than oranges?
There’s a reason why lemons pack such a punch. We’ll answer that question and a little more for you in this quick post.
Quick Answer: Why are Lemons More Sour than Oranges?
There are a couple reasons behind lemons tasting sourer than oranges. The first is that lemons have more citric acid in them. Among citrus fruits, lemons and limes have the highest concentration of citric acid, while oranges have a lower concentration.
Second, the genetics of lemons play a part in their sourness. Certain genes cause lemons to have the aforementioned high acidity.
Read Also: What are the Sweetest and Juiciest Oranges?
What is Citric Acid?
Citric acid sounds a little intimidating at first, because it doesn’t seem like you should be eating anything with the word “acid” in it. But truthfully, it’s in a huge number of daily foods and objects you experience.
It’s a weak organic acid with a wide range of uses. Aside from appearing in your favorite citrus fruits, it’s often used as flavoring in drinks and candies.
Some cleaning products even use trace amounts of citric acid to counteract limescale or to treat water. It also appears in some shampoos designed to help wash color from your hair.
In short, citric acid is safe, provided you don’t have long-term exposure to it in its pure form. You don’t need to worry about indulging in citrus fruits.
Read Also: What are the Juiciest Lemons?
Lemons vs Oranges: Nutritional Comparison
If you’re trying to decide between lemons and oranges, which should you choose? Aside from the cost, nutrition is important to consider.
Unfortunately for lemon fans (and fortunately for orange fans), oranges are more nutritious than limes overall.
Oranges have more calcium and potassium than lemons. Furthermore, oranges have more Vitamin A, E, B1, B2, and B3.
There are a few aspects where lemons win, though. Lemons are lower in calories and carbs, so if you’re counting calories or trying to cut down on your carbs, you should go with lemons instead.
In conclusion, the reason lemons are sourer than oranges is due to their higher concentration of citric acid. If the sourness is unappealing to you, then you can rest assured that oranges have a lot going for them nutritionally, in addition to being sweeter.
Oranges have more vitamins and minerals in them than lemons. Lemons, however, are lower in calories and carbs. That’s not to say you have to choose one or the other, though – you can certainly choose both!