What does the word citron mean?
Citron, also known by its scientific name Citrus medica, is a citrus fruit native to the Himalayas. Its scientific name comes from Latin and literally means "medical lemon". The etymology of the term "citron" is interesting. It is derived from the Greek word "kedros" meaning "cedar", as the citron fruit is shaped like a cedar cone.
There is no direct link between cedar and citron, however, since citron is related to the Rutaceae family, which also includes other citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and grapefruit.
In the beginning…
The citron has been cultivated in the Himalayas since ancient times. It gradually spread to other parts of the world. The citron was known and appreciated in ancient Egypt, where it was considered a sacred fruit. The Egyptians used it not only for its juicy pulp and fragrant zest, but also for its essential oil, which was used for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. The citron also played an important role in Jewish culture, to the point of sometimes being called the "lemon of the Jews". It is associated with the festival of Sukkot, where it is used in the rituals and decorations of the "sukkah" ("hut" in Hebrew). According to Jewish tradition, the citron represents fertility and abundance.
Over time, the citron spread to other parts of the world. Phoenician traders and Roman explorers introduced it to the Mediterranean, where it became popular in the cuisine and medicine of the time. The Arabs also played a role in the spread of citron, transporting it along trade routes to Europe and other regions. In the Middle Ages, citron was cultivated in southern Europe, particularly in Italy and Spain. It was used to make jams, liqueurs and perfumes. During the Renaissance, citrus fruits, including citron, became increasingly popular throughout Europe, notably as luxury ingredients in cooking and perfumery.
The origin of the citron goes back several thousand years. It originated in the Himalayas, in what is now northern India. Researchers believe that the wild citron (Citrus medica var.sarcodactylis) is the ancestor of all the citron varieties cultivated today. This wild variety is characterized by its elongated fruit and finger-like lobes, reminiscent of the shape of a hand. This resemblance has earned it the common name of "Buddha's hand".
Today, the citron is grown in many parts of the world, mainly in Mediterranean and subtropical climates ideal for citrus cultivation. Citrons are grown in Italy, Spain, Israel, Corsica and California.
Planting a citron is an important process that requires care and attention. Before planting, it's important to choose a suitable site. A sunny location with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day will do. The site's soil must be well drained to avoid water stagnation around the tree's roots. If the soil is clayey or compacted, we recommend amending it by adding organic matter of natural origin, such as compost or potting soil. This improves the soil's structure and ensures better moisture retention. The size of the planting hole is also important. It should be twice as wide and deep as the root ball of the citron. This will allow the roots to spread easily in the soil.
As the citron develops, the roots spread out in the soil, seeking water and essential nutrients. The stems grow and produce new green leaves that capture sunlight for photosynthesis. This vital process enables the plant to produce carbohydrates and energy to support its continued growth.The flowering period is a key moment in the citron's development. Flower buds form and transform into magnificent white or pink flowers. These delicate flowers often give off a sweet perfume and attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies and other insects. Cross-pollination results in fertilization of the ovules, giving rise to citron fruit.
Citron fruits develop progressively from the fertilized flowers. They go through different growth phases, expanding their characteristic size and shape. The citron is recognizable by its oval or oblong shape, sometimes reminiscent of a hand or fingers. Its thick, bumpy skin protects its juicy, aromatic flesh. The citron reaches full maturity after several months of development. At this stage, the fruit's skin turns a bright yellow and its fragrance is fully released. Ripe citrons can then be harvested.
Citrons are harvested when ripe, usually in late autumn or early winter. Citron trees are carefully inspected for fruit ready for harvesting. Citrons are picked by hand to avoid damaging the delicate skin of the fruit. Once harvested, the citrons are sorted to select the best specimens. They can then be used to extract their essential oil, their zest can be used to make jams or liqueurs, and their juice can be used in cooking or cosmetics.
What do you know about citron in perfumery?
Citron processing involves several steps to obtain the final products. First, after harvesting, the citron fruit is carefully washed to remove impurities and dirt. Next, the fruit is peeled to obtain the zest, which is the most commonly used part of the citron. The zest can be used fresh, dried or transformed into essential oil through a distillation process. Citrons can also be made into juice by pressing the fruit to extract the liquid. This juice can be used to flavor drinks, desserts or culinary dishes.
Citron belongs to the hesperidia olfactory family. Its fragrance is often described as lively, lemony, floral and fresh. It has tangy, sparkling notes reminiscent of lemon, but with a more subtle, delicate nuance. Citron also has light floral accents and a slight bitterness that adds complexity to its olfactory profile. Its vibrant, zesty scent makes it a popular ingredient in perfumery. It is often used to bring a touch of energy and freshness to fragrance compositions. Citron can be used as a lively, sparkling top note in perfumes to bring a feeling of dynamism and effervescence from the very first notes.
The olfactory accord with citron creates a lively, energizing olfactory experience. Combined with citrus fruits like lemon and bergamot, it offers a sparkling freshness. Aromatic notes such as rosemary and mint add an invigorating dimension. Delicate flowers such as orange blossom and neroli add softness and subtlety. Woody, musky accords, such as cedar and musk, add warmth and depth. In harmony, this accord creates dynamic, stimulating fragrances, capturing the lively energy and freshness of citron for a harmonious olfactory experience.
The citron is a citrus fruit with many benefits and virtues for our health. In fact, this fruit is overflowing with beneficial qualities for our bodies. First of all, its high vitamin C content makes it an ideal ally for boosting our immune system and protecting us from disease. What's more, citron is an excellent source of dietary fiber, promoting good digestion and preventing intestinal problems. Its antioxidant content helps combat free radicals and prevent premature cell aging.
Finally, citron essential oil can be used in aromatherapy, a form of alternative medicine that uses essential plant oils to improve physical, mental and emotional health.
Popular citron perfumes...
Here's a selection of famous fragrances featuring the refreshing, lemony essence of citron:
• Cédrat Enivrant eau de parfum by Atelier Cologne: A sparkling perfume for men and women that captures the energy and vivacity of citron, combined with citrus and wood notes.
• Eau de Fleur de Cédrat by Guerlain is a luminous, refined eau de parfum that celebrates the tangy freshness of the citron. This floral, fruity perfume blends notes of citron, white flowers and musk, creating a delicate, bewitching bouquet. Eau de Fleur de Cédrat eau de parfum by Guerlain captures the spirit of summer, evoking a sunny stroll through a Mediterranean garden.
• Cologne Extra Vieille by Roger & Gallet is a classic, timeless eau de cologne that evokes French elegance and refinement. This aromatic, woody perfume blends notes of bergamot, lavender and patchouli, creating a harmonious, sophisticated blend. Cologne Extra Vieille by Roger & Gallet embodies the house's heritage and expertise of over a century, offering a sense of freshness and a touch of tradition to the wearer.
• Dior Homme Sport Eau de Toilette by Christian Dior is a dynamic, energizing fragrance that embodies the sporty, elegant spirit of the house. This fresh, aromatic perfume blends notes of lemon, ginger and cedarwood, creating a vibrant, modern composition. Dior Homme Sport is the perfect companion for the modern man, combining sophistication and vitality for a distinctive olfactory experience.
• Cedrat 37 Berlin eau de parfum by Le Labo is a captivating fragrance designed for both women and men. The scent opens with the bright and refreshing note of Citron, creating an invigorating and uplifting experience. In the heart, the fragrance is spiced up with the addition of ginger, adding a touch of warmth and complexity. The base notes of woodsy notes, musk, and ambergris bring depth and sensuality to the composition, leaving a lasting and enchanting trail. Cedrat 37 Berlin eau de parfum is a unique and versatile perfume that can be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates a harmonious blend of citrus, spice, and rich base notes.
These renowned fragrances capture the vibrant, invigorating spirit of citron, offering unique olfactory compositions and evoking the freshness and luminosity of citrus.