Friday, August 2, 2013

Refresh, Renew, and Reuse: 5 ways to use your ENTIRE Lemon

What do you do when life gives you lemons?  USE THEM!!!  All of them.  Let no part go to waste!  There are TONS of ways to use lemons up.  THIS ARTICLE has 45 amazing ways you could use those lemons.  I was quite surprised by some of them!

I frequently shop at Sam's club and right now they have 3 lb bags of lemons for about $3.50.  I'm not sure if that is cheap but I found it quite affordable.  I bought 3 bags!  When I got them home and set them out on my counter I must admit I was slightly overwhelmed at the sight of almost 10 lbs of lemons!!!  I had big plans for those yellow beauties.

First, I had to make sure they were clean since I planned on using the entire lemon.  I set them in my sink and sprayed my homemade veggie wash (FOUND HERE) on them then lightly scrubbed and rinsed them.

Next, I went to town pealing all of the yellow skins off making sure to leave the white bitter tasting part behind.  I saved them in a plastic baggie for later use.  We'll get to that part later. 

Lemonade Concentrate

Next up, squeeze all of the juice out.  This is where we get to make the first recipe.  I must admit this step took the longest and my hands got pretty tired!  My plan was to use the juice for lemonade.  The last time I made lemonade I simply put the peeled lemons into my juicer but it turned out a little bitter as the white rind got juiced with the rest of the lemon.  This time, I made sure to squeeze the juice out by hand and avoid the extra bitter taste.  Plus, I still have use for that bitter part.

Once you have all the juice out in a bowl, pour it through a fine mesh strainer into a pot to make the concentrate. The recipe is the same as my Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate only without the strawberries.  

Basically I had about 4 cups of lemon juice in my pot.  (I had 5 cups total but used the other cup for something else.)  I added 5 cups of sugar. (Eeek!!  I know! But it dilutes nicely.) Then I brought it to a boil for about 5 minutes before reducing and simmering for another hour.  It made 5 cups of concentrate.  You only need one cup of this potent stuff in a pitcher full of water!  I keep them in my freezer in little containers.  Note that they do NOT freeze solid.  It stays a gel like consistency.

Also note, even though it looks brown right now, when diluted it looks like nice yellow lemonade.  My 4 year old was very concerned about this!

Lemon Juice for Drinks or Future Recipes

I saved about a cup of the juice in an old lemon juice container for use in future recipes or my ice tea!!  


I don't know if you have ever had the pleasure of drinking this wonderful alcoholic beverage before but it is quite tasty and makes a great night cap on those days when I've run a chicken marathon with my head cut off.  A few years ago I was introduced to it when my best friend gifted me a homemade batch in a cute little glass bottle for Christmas.  Delish!  So, years later, I finally looked up the recipe and began making some myself.  I've tried it with orange and lemon (separately) and it turns out great.  I also plan to try it with lime someday too!

You can find the recipe HERE.  Basically you put a bunch of lemon peels into a glass jar and fill the container with vodka.  Then you let it sit for 20-30 days, strain the peels, add simple syrup, and voila!  Pour it over ice and you're good to go!

I have enough peels to make several batches!  Since I only have one bottle, I'll use Mason jars for the other batches.  You can use whatever glass container you might have lying around at home.  Just make sure it's glass and not plastic as it could break down over time.  (I don't have vodka yet so my jar is not totally ready to go yet!)

Lemon Scours 

This was an idea I had to clean my sink.  I have a white porcelain sink that gets stained quite often. So I had all of these halved lemons leftover.  What can I do with them?  Well, why not sprinkle baking soda on them and scour my sink?  You can even sprinkle baking soda on the sink itself and use the lemon as your scrubber.  No sponge required!  Smells good, whitens, and leaves it looking beautiful!  I think I'll keep those lemon halves after all.  No need to throw away useful items right?

For now I'm keeping these in my refrigerator but I may transfer them to the freezer because I have so many of them so they don't get rotten.  



Garbage Disposal Freshener

Finally, after I've used this lemon to make lemonade, limoncello, lemon juice, and scour my sink, it's time to say goodbye.  But not in the trash can.  Nope.  This lemon has one more thing to leave me with.  A refreshing smell coming out of my garbage disposal.  Send it down the disposal after cleaning your dishes and your kitchen will smell fresh without ever using a chemical.

I've had other ideas for those lemon peels, like making candied lemon peels or zesting them and drying it out to put in  a spice jar.  Or boiling some to make my house smell good while putting some humidity back into my house.  Maybe next time!  For now, this lemon is spent!

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