In Kodiak, Alaska, lemons do not grow on trees. So when lemons went on sale at Safeway, I bought a dozen. Thankfully, friends and family members sent me dozens of how-to-use lemon tips. Here is a zesty Top 20, from brightening soups to keeping your hands warm.
Perk up your meals with lemons
1. Make fresh mint lemonade (a favorite recipe from a friend who lived in several Arabic countries): Toss a fistful of fresh mint leaves, juice of 2 lemons in a blender. Add and 1/8 to 1/4 cup sugar for each lemon. Add water to cover. Blend for 30 seconds. Add 2 cups ice. Blend. To serve, fill a glass half full with blended mint-lemon mixture and top off with sparkling water. Ahh, so refreshing!
2. Freeze whole lemons for use later. (One of my favorites). Then, when you need a lemon, just poke a hole in the skin and microwave for a minute.
3. Before chopping onions, garlic or fish, rub lemon juice on your hands.
4. Preserved lemons in salt and use in cooking.
5. Freeze lemon juice in ice cube trays for later use in drinks and cooking.
6. Brighten soups by squeezing a lemon into the soup (and toss it in!) just before serving.
7. What’s for dessert? Frozen lemon “cups”: Fill juiced lemon rind halves with favorite sorbet and freeze. Beautiful presentation.
The health benefits of lemon
8. Keep your hands warm with citrus! Psst. Do you know what hesperidin is? It’s your friend. And it’s found in citrus… A big deal if your hands suffer in the cold or if you are at risk for strokes. Here’s what I’m talking about:
9. Puree whole lemons, seeds and all, and freeze in ice cube trays. Add to smoothies, marinades, dressings…
10. Puree turmeric and ginger with fresh lemon juice. Freeze and add to recipes for the health benefits of lemons AND spices.
11. Repair your DNA: That’s right… Every hour, there are 800 incidents of DNA damage in our bodies. The good news is that DNA repair is a process that is influenced by what we eat, which might explain the cancer-preventive effects of many plant-based foods. In this case, apples, broccoli, celery, choy sum, lemons, lettuce, oranges, persimmons, and strawberries.
But, what is the best food? Lemons. But get this: It was NOT the vitamin C, says Dr. Michael Gregor, M.D. (New York Times bestselling author) in his video, Which Fruits & Vegetables Boost DNA Repair? (See resources below for more info about Dr. Gregor).
12. First aid for “singer’s throat”: lemon and honey, preferably warm.
13. Cough and cold remedy: I’m a believer. More than once this recipe has stopped an itchy nose and a scratchy throat in its tracks. Ingredients include oregano, garlic, and lemon juice. Trust me. It works. Here is the recipe for oregano-garlic tea.
14. The ultimate cure for hiccups: 1 lemon slice (1/2 wheel), 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters on the lemon. Bite lemon and swallow juices in one large gulp while looking at the ceiling.
Benefits of lemon in the home
15. Real furniture polish: Lemon juice makes the wood shine. It’s easy to make your own polish: Mix lemon, vinegar, and olive oil. Be sure to rub on with the grain.
16. Clean copper pots, like NOW! My friend Joel, is a French chef. He routinely cleaned his copper pots by scrubbing them with a paste made of lemon juice, egg white, wood ashes, and fine. “Oh, and ketchup works good, too,” he says
17. Use lemon rinds to clean around kitchen sink faucets and bathroom sinks.
18. Grind lemon rinds (and ice cubes, says my husband) in the disposal to keep it fresh.
19. Clean hardwood floors: Add 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice to a gallon of water. Years ago, while photographing in Costa Rica for a travel writer, we stopped for dinner in a family-owned Jamaican restaurant. After dinner was over, one of the sons placed a half-coconut shell, cut side down, on the floor. Then he put his bare foot on it and began scooting it all around. You’ve never seen such a rich and beautiful wooden floor.
20. Clean your oven: My friend Ani swears by this method: Toss a bunch of baking soda in the oven. Then scrub with juice lemon rinds. A little messy but smells great.
Now you have it: The 20 best benefits of lemon. Don’t stop there. Experiment on your own. Ideas are waiting for you…
Cheers and zesty blessings to you,
1. More on citrus zest has a lot of health benefits, by Michael Gregor, M.D., physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues.
2. Learn about healthy recipes and why plant-based cooking and why more doctors are recommending it to their patients.
3. My favorite dairy-free, chocolate mint pudding recipe.
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Marion Owen is a “Jill of all trades,” with 30 years of experience as a teacher and columnist. She’s on a mission to help busy people enhance their daily lives, condensing topics such as photography, cooking, and organic gardening into bite-size pieces. Get her free 4-page “In Good Light: Photo Tips for Busy People” and feel newly recharged when taking pictures.