The Many Uses of a Lemon

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and then use every last bit for even more lemony goodness.

Summertime translates into many hot afternoons filled with tart, but refreshing glasses of lemonade. Left with heaps of lemon rinds only destined for the composter, I wondered if there was something else I could do with the fragrant remnants.

For those lucky enough to have a lemon tree, here are some tangy ideas to keep you busy.

Lemon Insect Repellent:

Most citrus fruits are an effective insect repellent. Place lemon rinds on a cookie sheet and bake at a low 150 degrees until dried (or use a fruit dehydrator if you have one). Take the dried rinds, and put in a cheesecloth, or similar cloth and tie off. Hang in your closets, or storage to keep out moths.

Pickled Lemons:

Pickled lemons are awesome to cook with. To pickle lemons, simple slice into thin wedges, and preserve in their own lemon juice and add a generous amount of salt. They need to sit at room temperature for at least three weeks, during which time you will give them a good shake once a day. Keep refridgerated, and try to use within 3 months. These are good in stews and tagines, salads and even in sandwiches.

Lemon Dressing:

Chop up 2 tablespooons (rind and all), mix with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and some pepper. Mix and enjoy over a crisp summer salad!

Lemoncello: (Limoncello)

2/5 part 100 proof vodka
4 cups sugar
5 cups water
zest of 15 fresh lemons

1. Wash the lemons with a vegetable brush and hot water to remove any reside of pesticides or wax. Carefully zest the lemons with a zester or vegetable peeler so there is no white pith on the peel.

In a 1-gallon glass jar, add one fifth vodka and the lemon zest. Cover the jar and let sit at room temperature for at least 10 days, and up to 40 days in a cool dark place.

3. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook until thickened, appx. 5 to 7 minutes. Let the syrup cool before adding it to the limoncello mixture. Add the additional fifth of vodka. Allow to rest for another 10 to 40 days.

4. After the rest period, strain and bottle, discarding the lemon zest. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve.

Lemon Cubes:

Freeze in in small amounts like an ice cube tray then bag and use to add flavor to almost anything you cook.

Lemon Peel Candy:

This is a good way to use up lemon rind and it goes good with coffee or on cake.

Take the rinds (scrape off the white part) of about 3 lemons. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small pan, and add lemon peels. Boil for about 5 minutes, until tender. Remove peels from water, and stir in 2 cups of sugar. Return to a boil, add peels, and boil until transparent. Drain, and allow to dry before storing. Liquid may be reserved and used as lemon simple syrup.

Lemons for Acne!

Mix 2 teaspoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice with 1/2 teaspoon of rose water. Soak a cotton ball, and lightly sweep over the face. Any initial stinging will go away soon, and leave on face overnight and wash in the morning. Do not do if you have sensitive skin.

Lemon Cleanser:

Lemon juice and salt combined to scrub wooden cutting boards, kills bacteria and makes a lovely smell!

Take lemons that have been squeezed and place in a bowl of water and microwave for five minutes. It loosens the grim that gathers and makes your microwave easier to clean, not to memtion smell really good.

Take ‘bits’ of lemons (not too large) and run with cold water in your garbage disposal to clean the blades, and the lemon aroma will waft through your kitchen.