The big question on Bill Bennett’s Morning in America radio program today was “Do they still make those lemon juice squeezers that are shaped like lemons?”
It appeared that Seth Liebsohn, who is Bennett’s on air foil (and executive producer) could not find them. Apparently, they weren’t in most Washington, D.C. grocery stores. The only lemon juice that they could find was in jars, and no matter whether the juice is the same, it tastes better if you squirt it out of a plastic lemon.
Thankfully, a number of callers set the record straight. Not only can you still buy lemon juice in plastic lemons, but you can buy lime juice in plastic limes! You just have to look hard. It’s a great Morning in America, but only if America still has plastic lemons.
We dug up a bit of product history.
ReaLemon is made by Dr. Pepper Snapple, formerly part of Cadbury Schweppes. ReaLemon Lemon Juice From Concentrate (their full name) was invented in 1934 by Chicagoan Irvin Swartzberg. ReaLime Juice from Concentrate followed in 1947. Borden bought the company in October of 1962, according to the Chicago Tribune. Schwartzberg died in June of 1984.
ReaLemon was for a time owned by Borden/Eagle, then Mott’s, and is now made in Waterloo, N.Y., according to the Cadbury Schweppes website. According to the Mariani Encyclopedia of American Food, Schwartzberg sold fresh lemon juice to Chicago bars. After he perfected a method of concentrating the juice with water, he began selling it to consumers. It was for a time sold as lemonade concentrate, a sort of liquid Wyler’s.
Today, ReaLemon has many uses. According to the website wackyuses.com, in addition to improving the taste of many a cocktail, it can eliminate blackheads, dandruff, rust stains and other pesky problems.
We would love to know some more history about the late Irvin Schwartzberg, the presumed inventor of the plastic lemon. If anyone knows anything, please post it below in the comments.