Monday, March 12, 2012

when life gives you lemons...

It's no secret that I love lemons. It may be due to the fact that I can't grow lemons in my neck of the woods, but I'm willing to bet that even if I could, I would still love them. 

Lemons are my Zen. They elevate my mood when the rainy days start to wear on me. Aromatherapists use lemons to help people purge feelings of imperfection and to build up confidence. Lemons boost the immune system, are used as an antiviral, an antidepressant, and an antiseptic. They decrease indigestion and can stop bleeding. Inhaled, the scent of lemons has been shown to reduce blood pressure and used on the skin is helpful in the treatment of blackheads.

That, and I really, really love them.

When I go grocery shopping, lemons always have a way of finding their way into my grocery cart. It doesn't matter whether I need them that week or not. I'll find a use for them even if it's just to decorate the kitchen table. (Okay, that only happened once and the blue fuzz that grew on them kind of ruined the whole color scheme thing I had going.)

Here's a few ways I like to use lemons~

*Mix the juice of 1/2 lemon with 2 Tb. olive oil for a natural wood furniture polish.
*Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into a 12 oz. plastic spray bottle. Add 3/4 cup white vinegar and 1 tsp. unscented castile soap. Fill remainder of bottle with water. Use as an all-purpose cleaner.
*Mix equal parts lemon juice with olive oil for an easy vinaigrette. 
*Squeeze lemon juice onto fresh fruit to prevent browning.
*Place juice of 1 lemon into a microwavable bowl with 1 cup water. Microwave for 1 minute. Clean inside walls of microwave with damp towel. 
*Add lemon juice to water for a refreshing change. Add a little sweetener and you have lemonade. Better yet, try lacto-fermented lemonade for even more health benefits.
*For coughing: Squeeze juice of 1 lemon into cup of hot water. Add honey. Drink. Helps calm the cough and break up any phlegm.
*Flavor baked goods with lemon zest, or replace vanilla with lemon juice. (This is especially good in sugar cookies☺)
*Disinfect cutting boards by rubbing 1/2 lemon all over the board. Let set for 5 minutes. Wash as usual.
*Use lemon juice when cooking fish, or in a marinade for meats that will be grilled. The acid in the juice helps to break down the toughness of the meat. (I also add olive oil to the marinade.)

When I purchase lemons, I usually do it in bulk. If I don't have an immediate use for the lemons (it happens), I'll juice them for later. Here's how...

First~I wash then zest the lemons. To save the zest, place in dehydrator on lowest setting overnight. Or preheat oven to 150F., turn off, then place cookie sheet of lemon zest in oven. Leave overnight. Store zest in jar and use in favorite recipes.

Second~place a mesh colander over a pourable measuring container. Squeeze juice into bowl, but through the colander. (Meyer lemons have a lot of seeds.)

Pour lemon juice into ice trays; cover with plastic wrap and freeze. When frozen, remove from tray and place in freezer bags. Each cube equals approximately 3 Tb. of juice. When needed, just take out as many cubes as needed and allow to thaw in a cup on the counter. (Microwaving the juice destroys all those delicious vitamins that make lemons so very special.)

This method works well for oranges and limes too!☺


MamaTea said... you're saying like lemons? ;) Wow - that's a ton of ideas for how to use them. I might even learn to like them with all those suggestions!

(Don't hate me. Me not lovin' lemons means there are more for you to love!)

April Tuell Angels Homestead said...

I freeze lemon and lime juice this way too. You posted a couple of tips for using it though that I hadn't heard of yet. Bookmarked them to try soon.

Candy C. said...

The smell of lemon is just heavenly! Thanks for the tip on freezing the juice! :)

Carolyn Renee said...

My, that's a lot of things to do with lemons! Although you may find it hard to believe, I don't care for lemons much with the exception of fresh lemonaid on a hot, hot day. Not even as a sprinkle on fish; weird, hugh? I do like the smell though, does that count?

SweetLand Farm said...

Thanks for all the tips that lemon is good for! love fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Kim said...

MamaTea~Yay! More for me!!! Would it surprise you to know that I actually used to HATE lemons? With a passion. Lemon drops used to make me gag. Seriously. There's hope for you yet my friend! ;)

April~I just picked up some limes today for juicing...I'm on a roll now!

Candy~Lemons smell like summer...instant happiness. :)

Carolyn Renee~Yes, that counts!

SweetLand Farm~You're welcome!