Reliably it has been a star producer every year and is an enjoyable plant year round. In the spring it delights with extremely fragrant flowers that attract beautiful bees. Later in the year I'm showered with gifts of beautiful and delicious lemons. Though native to Asia, these evergreen trees were grown in California as early as 1751. Prolific lemon-producing and exporting countries include Italy, Spain Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon, South Africa and Australia, but like most fruits and vegetables, locally sourced are best, and in many areas that means growing your own lemons.
In addition to the enjoyment of the trees themselves, lemons are a delightfully versatile fruit. Lemons appear in everything from dressings and desserts to pastries, potions and even hacks.
Lemons contain high levels of vitamin C and citric acid, along with calcium, copper, iron, B-complex vitamins, phosphorus and fiber. In addition to inclusion in food, there are many ways lemons can add zest to your life:
- Lemons work well for roasting chicken. Put the lemon peel into the bird and roast.
- Lemon juice and zest add flavors to foods, thereby supporting reduced salt intake by up to 75% in vegetable dishes without sacrificing flavor.
- Candied lemon peel makes a great treat on its own, but can also serve as a beautiful decoration for many desserts, while also adding flavor. All you need are lemons, water, sugar, a vegetable peeler and a saucepan. The candied peels can be stored for several months.
- Leftover lemon peels can be used to fertilize roses and other plants acid-loving plants.
- Add a few drops of lemon juice to your cut flowers. The flowers like acidity in their water because the acid inhibits callus formation. When cut flowers don't callus over, water is able to freely flow up the stems to the flowers.
- Make lemon ice cubes as a way to get an extra boost of vitamin C and fiber in your diet. Wash, peel and coarsely chop a lemon, put it in a blender with a little bit of water. If you want a smooth mixture, you can then strain the mixture to remove the seeds and larger bits. Then pour the mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze until hardened.
- If your lettuce is beginning to look a little wilted, bring it back to life by soaking the leaves in a bowl filled with water, ice and approximately one tablespoon of water. Soak the leaves for 30 minutes then pat dry the revived leaves.
- Lemon is a great way to eliminate strong food odors. Clean cutting surfaces with hot, soapy water and then rub the cut side of a half of a lemon all over the offending surface. Allow it to air dry.
- If your garbage disposal is smelly, toss lemon peel or leftover quarters with a small bit of ice down the disposal. Run the disposal until it is clear of debris.
- Lemon juice is the best choice for a natural blood stain removal and has the natural ability to lighten dark spots, especially when it works in intense sunlight. Spray a bit of water on top of the stain, squeeze the juice of two lemons and mix half a cup of salt into it. Rub this mixture into the fabric. Hang the fabric outside in a sunny location. Yes, this also works as a hair lightener and freckle lightener, but you may prefer to go with a mixture you can control more specifically.
- Use it as a glass stove top cleaner. Mix 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in with two cups of water. Heat in a microwave for 30 seconds and apply using either a spray bottle or cloth. This is best used for clean-up immediately after a spill as the heat helps remove the food and the lemon adds grease-cutting power.