2 Annotations

First Reading

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Lemons were imported as early as april Novello Compano, A, 4 old gilt girdles, 1 chest soap weight 4½ C. lbs., 1 butt lemons, £5
as well as
1481 Gonsalvus Rodrecus ....10, 000 Oranges 40 doz cork....
60,000 oranges 3rd april.
as well as Cork for slippers.
plus this from Elizabeth I.
"Edward Gilbert, Master of a Hoy of Feverton, in the River of London, which hath in Eight Thousand Oranges and Lemons, and some Spanish Reed, as he doth relate."

From: 'House of Lords Journal Volume 5: 1 August 1642', Journal of the House of Lords: volume 5: 1642-1643 (1802), pp. 250-56. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compi…. Date accessed: 15 February 2006.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In 2011 djc educated us about scurvy, lemons, limes and the Navy:

Not limes but lemons were an effective cure for scurvy.

Scurvy had been the leading killer of sailors on long ocean voyages; some ships experienced losses as high as 90% of their men.
With the introduction of lemon juice [in 1799], the British suddenly held a massive strategic advantage over their rivals, one they put to good use in the Napoleonic wars. British ships could now stay out on blockade duty for two years at a time, strangling French ports even as the merchantmen who ferried citrus to the blockading ships continued to die of scurvy, prohibited from touching the curative themselves.
The success of lemon juice was so total that much of Sicily was soon transformed into a lemon orchard for the British fleet.

Scurvy continued to be a vexing problem in other navies, who were slow to adopt citrus as a cure, as well as in the Merchant Marine, but for the Royal Navy it had become a disease of the past.

So when the Admiralty began to replace lemon juice with an ineffective substitute in 1860, it took a long time for anyone to notice.
In that year, naval authorities switched procurement from Mediterranean lemons to West Indian limes. The motives for this were mainly colonial - it was better to buy from British plantations than to continue importing lemons from Europe.

Confusion in naming didn't help matters. Both "lemon" and "lime" were in use as a collective term for citrus, and although European lemons and sour limes are quite different fruits, their Latin names (citrus medica, var. limonica and citrus medica, var. acida) suggested that they were as closely related as green and red apples.
Moreover, as there was a widespread belief that the antiscorbutic properties of lemons were due to their acidity, it made sense that the more acidic Caribbean limes would be even better at fighting the disease.

In this, the Navy was deceived. Tests on animals would later show that fresh lime juice has a quarter of the scurvy-fighting power of fresh lemon juice.

See see https://idlewords.com/2010/03/scott_and_scurvy.htm
and https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/04/18/#c325…

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.



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