Let’s talk Lemons! We have a HUGE lemon tree on our property, and for the past 2 years, I have not taken full advantage of its bounty. Over 15 feet tall and with lemons the size of navel oranges, we have more than we know what to do with. I would say there are HUNDREDS of lemons on our tree right now.
I was never a fan of lemon, probably because all of the fake lemon extracts and such. Now, I LOVE lemon and I try to find as many ways to incorporate it into my recipes! I am also amazed at all the ways I can use lemon juice in my day-to-day cleaning.
Don’t have a tree but LOVE lemons?? If you are in an area that grows lemons, be sure to check your farmer’s market or even Craig’s List to see if someone has extras!
Tools you’ll need for the job
My favorite juicer is this small hand held one, called a reamer. I have purchased bigger juicers but I find that I like this method best. You will also need a good microplaner for zesting and a small pairing knife or vegetable peeler to remove the lemon peel (not the white pith) from the lemons. Before zesting or juicing your lemons, be sure to wash them to get any dirt off!
This year I plan on making the most of our abundance of lemons. I hope you enjoy this laundry list of ways to use your lemons in the Kitchen! Be sure to read the entire list, some uses may surprise you!
50 Uses for Lemons in the Kitchen
- Squeeze lemon juice over cooked veggies like zucchini, broccoli and squash for added flavor.
- Season fish, shrimp, chicken, etc. with a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving.
- Use the juice and zest to of a lemon to compliment blueberries in scones and pancakes (Blueberry Scone Recipe, Pancake Recipe, Blueberry Buckle Recipe)
- Add the juice and zest of a lemon to make Salmon Burgers and Lemon Mayonnaise.
- Make Russian Dressing for Reuben Sandwiches!
- Add half of a lemon to your bone broth as the acid to extract all the minerals out of the bones. (Homemade Bone Broth Recipe)
- Clean your garbage disposal by throwing 1/2 a lemon down the disposal while running hot water.
- Make Lemon Curd (Grain-Free & Sugar-Free recipe coming up).
- Use lemon juice in the place of vinegar in recipes that call for baking soda. The acidic lemon juice (like vinegar) will react with the baking soda and create CO2 and cause your baked good to rise.
- Use lemon juice in the place of vinegar in most recipes where a lemon flavor would be desired (muffins, cakes, etc.)
- Keep fruit and veggies fresher longer by using lemon juice as the acid to make a fruit and veggie wash.
- Make your own lemon extract from the zest of lemons and vodka (recipe coming up soon, very similar to homemade vanilla extract).
- Add the skin of the lemon to plain vinegar and use it along with hydrogen peroxide (in separate bottle) to clean and disinfect your kitchen counters.
- Add slices of lemons to your glass of water.
- Make Lemon-aid!
- Add lemon slices to your iced tea.
- Use 1/2 a lemon that has been juiced to clean/wipe down your stainless steel kitchen sink.
- Add lemons and other citrus to a bowl for a pretty center piece for your kitchen table or island.
- Use a cut lemon to clean and sanitize your cutting boards to rid the smells of onion, fish, garlic, etc.
- Freshen your trashcan by adding the peel of lemon to the bottom of your garbage can (underneath the kitchen bag).
- Use lemon juice to revive wilted lettuce. Add the juice of half a lemon to a bowl of cold water. Then add the soggy lettuce and refrigerate for 1 hour. Dry lettuce in salad spinner before serving.
- Freshen your fridge by soaking a sponge with lemon juice and leaving it in the fridge overnight.
- Polishing your aluminum pots using the “empty” halves of the lemon. Then polish with a soft cloth. It will restore the shine and color of your aluminum pots.
- Remove stains from hands after handing beets with a little lemon juice.
- Add a little lemon juice to prevent cut avocados from browning.
- Add lemon juice to cut fruit (such as apples) to prevent them from browning.
- Clean your microwave. Put 1-1/2 cups of water with 1/4 cup of lemon juice into bowl and place it into the microwave. Heat it for 10 minutes then wipe down microwave with washcloth.
- To get more juice out of your lemons, roll them on the surface of your counter. This will soften them a bit and produce more juice.
- Remove soft cheese or other sticky foods from a grater. Rub both sides of the grater with the pulp side of a cut lemon. (Source)
- Rub kitchen faucets with lemon peel. Wash and dry with a soft cloth to shine and remove spots.
- Create your own air freshener. Slice some lemons, cover with water, and let simmer in a pot for about an hour. (This will also clean your aluminum pots!) (Source)
- Bleach Dishes. Berries and pomegranates can leave stains on your dishes. Fill the sink with warm or boiling water and lemon skins. Soak the dishes for three-to-four hours. Rinse and wipe dry.
- Create a Scented Humidifier. If you live in a dry winter climate, put lemon peels in a pot of water and simmer on low to humidify and scent the air. Add cinnamon sticks for extra aroma.
- Make preserved lemons by filling a glass jar with quartered lemons, one-fourth cup of kosher salt and enough lemon juice to cover. Refrigerator for three-four weeks.
- Make a Lemon Pie (Recipe in Comforting Eats Cookbook)
- Make hollandaise sauce for Southern Eggs Benedict (recipe in Comforting Eats).
- Squeeze lemon juice over cut Brussels sprouts to prevent them from turning brown.
- When roasting a chicken, squeeze the juice of 2 lemons inside the cavity and place the remaining empty lemon inside for moist chicken.
- Make an easy Lemon-Butter Sauce to serve with pork or chicken.
- Make lemon-lime jello (use this recipe as a base).
- When cooking cabbage, add a few slices of lemon to the pot to decrease the cabbage odor.
- Add “empty” lemons to compost. (Source)
- Use the seeds to plant a tree.
- “Lemon juice works great to cut the grease on dishes if you don’t have a dishwasher, but you can also use lemons in the dishwasher (in addition to dish detergent). Place a cut lemon in the top rack of the dishwasher to get that Jet-Dry clean, but make sure you secure it so that it doesn’t fly around during the wash.” (Source)
- Keep Insects Out of the Kitchen by applying lemon juice on door thresholds and windowsills. Then squeeze lemon juice into any holes or cracks where the ants are getting in. Finally, scatter small slices of lemon peel around the outdoor entrance. The ants will get the message that they aren’t welcome. Lemons are also effective against roaches and fleas: Simply mix the juice of 4 lemons (along with the rinds) with 1/2 gallon water and wash your floors with it; then watch the fleas and roaches flee. They hate the smell. (Source)
- Make an easy vinaigrette with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic and salt (recipe coming soon).
- Mix lemon juice with part rubbing alcohol and vinegar for the perfect window cleaner.
- Slice lemons into 1/8th inch slices and dehydrate.
- Like lemon pudding?? Add 2 tbsp. of lemon juice and the zest of 1 lemon to make Lemon Pudding.
- Give whole lemons to your 2.5 year old and 9 month old for entertainment while you cook dinner. (MY FAVORITE USE!)
Extra Lemons?? Squeeze the juice out and pour into ice-cube trays. Freeze and then put frozen cubes into freezer bag. Now you will always have lemon juice on hand.
Did I miss anything?? How do you use your lemons in the kitchen??