You know what they say, when life gives you lemons you … use them. Seriously, don’t waste those little guys on lemonade! Lemons are good for so much more than a beverage or a garnish on your drink. These highly acidic, sweet and sour fruits are winter’s gift to your kitchen. So this year, instead of using them sparingly, give lemons their due and put them to use in and around your kitchen.
To get you started, here are 17 unusual uses for lemon that really showcase the freshness of these little citrus powerhouses.
1. Refresh Your Cutting Boards
After months of chopping onions, garlic, and herbs, it should be no surprise that your cutting boards absorb some of that smell and get a bit odorous.
If a simple washing is no longer removing the odor, try rubbing a half a lemon on the board or washing it in undiluted lemon juice. That way, you’ll have a fresh, clean board ready for your next culinary experiment.
2. Fruit and Vegetable Wash
Some of the produce we buy (if it’s not organic) is covered in unknown and unwanted pesticides. Don’t risk ingesting these chemicals. Instead, spray your vegetables and fruit with lemon before you rise them off.
Lemon is a great natural disinfectant that is incredibly effective, but won’t harm produce or change the taste.
3. Prevent Cauliflower from Turning Brown
Cauliflower has a habit of turning brown even if you only just boil it for a few seconds.
To prevent this, add a few drops of lemon juice to the water and watch your cauliflower stay as brightly colored as when you bought it.
4. Keep Your Vegetables Crisp and Bright
Just because the weather outside is turning crisp does not mean that your vegetables will too. If anything, as the weather gets fresher, the vegetables that you can buy at the market tend to be less so.
Work to keep your produce in tip-top shape even in the midst of winter by squeezing a bit of lemon juice on them once you’ve chopped them up.
5. Insect Deterrent
No one likes insects in their kitchen that get into their food, so prevent an infestation before it even begins. Spray your windowsills, baseboards, and the entrance to cupboards.
Insects, including ants, spiders, and cockroaches, are highly sensitive to smell so if you spray the areas that they tend to appear in, you will deter them from even trying to cross your threshold.
6. Glass Cleaner
Choose the amount of lemon juice that you need to clean based on the state of your windows. The grimier they are, the more lemon juice you will need.
For a regular window cleaning, mix several tablespoons of lemon juice into a cup of water and then spray it on the glass. Wipe off the liquid with newspaper for an ultra-clear, streak-free shine.
7. Stain Remover
Almost any kind of stain – red wine, grease, mildew, or berries – can be removed with an application of lemon juice and salt. For tougher surfaces, scrub the mixture in and work to remove the stain.
On more delicate surfaces, let the paste rest and soak up the stain. Once you wipe everything off, the stain should easily wash out.
8. Banish Build Up
Lemon is an excellent cleaner to cut through lime scale, calcium, and layered soap scum. Simply rub a half lemon, or squirt undiluted lemon juice on where these buildups have collected.
Add a little elbow grease and wash off with warm water. When you see the result, you won’t be able to believe your eyes.
9. Sink Cleaner
If you have a porcelain sink, mix household borax with lemon and spread the paste over those tough stains. Let it sit up to a couple of hours for maximum effect and then scrub it off with a sponge. You won’t be able to see a trace.
Pro Tip: This works for toilets, too!
10. Metal Polish
Along the same lines of cleaning a sink, you can use lemons to polish any of the chrome fixtures in your kitchen.
Simply dip a half a lemon in salt and scrub the offending area until the grime is washed away and the surface is gleaming.
11. Unstick Your Rice
Rice that is either stuck together or stuck to the pot is not particularly enjoyable. To prevent this, add a few drops of lemon juice to the boiling water before you put the rice in, and it will magically prevent the grains from sticking together, or to the pot.
12. Heartburn Relief
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Don’t let yourself suffer! Try a lemon.
Naturally this remedy will not work if you are getting heartburn from having too much acid in your stomach.
However, if you are lacking acid and that is causing your discomfort, a glass of lemon water will quickly fix you up.
13. Hangover Helper
Doesn’t just looking at this fruit make you feel better? Next time you’re feeling a little worse for wear after a night out, try squeezing some lemon into your water or tea.
It will help you rehydrate while replenishing the vitamin C you lost and re-balancing your body’s pH levels.
14. Lemony Fresh Kitchens
Garbage disposals are full of nasty gunk that we don’t want to know about and often don’t until a peculiar smell begins emitting from them.
Prevent these smells from rising to the surface before they happen by grinding a bit of lemon peel in your garbage disposal periodically.
15. Streak-Free Shine
Add a half of a lemon to the dishwasher on your next load of dishes for a streak-free rinse and a lovely smell no matter what you put in there.
Pro Tip: You can use this same trick while washing your tennis shoes in the dishwasher. This will nix any lingering foot smell and leave your shoes looking as new as the day you bought them.
16. An All Purpose Cleaning Solution
Lemon can really be used for anything. Simply squeeze a lemon into any kind of spray bottle and add equal parts white vinegar and water.
This spray will lift even the toughest stains and leave your home smelling incredibly fresh.
17. Add a Little Beauty to Your Home
Thankfully, bright yellow lemons are a winter fruit making them easily available even the dark, cold days of winter. Use their sunny color to your advantage.
Chop them up and layer them decoratively in a clear vase or float them in a bowl of water. Not only will they brighten your mood, but they will also freshen up your home.