FOR COOKING AND EATING
Make Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning - One of my favorite seasonings and easy to make. Here's how:
5+ large lemons
1/3 cup of crushed black pepper corns
1/4 cup kosher salt
Zest all the lemons and mix with crushed peppercorns.
Spread out on parchment lined baking sheet and bake on lowest setting until the zest is completely dried.
Add the lemon-pepper to a spice grinder and grind until desired texture. Mix with the kosher salt if desired and store in a airtight container for up to a few months.
Lemon Sugar - It's a great flavored sugar option, right up there with Vanilla Sugar! It's delicious to rim chilled summer glasses for serving lemonade! Be still my heart. Here's how:
The zest from 2 lemons
2-3 cups Sugar, depending how sweet you like things - I use 2 cups.
Zesting releases the natural oils of the lemon and those oils absorb quickly into the sugar. Stir well, then let the sugar mixture sit out for at least an hour to dry slightly. Close up the container, give it a good shake and then store it in your cupboard so that it is ready any time you need it.
Lemon Olive Oil - Give your olive oil a makeover with a bright flavor. It's simple, here's how:1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 -3 tablespoons lemon zest, finely grated
Place the oil and the zest in a glass jar. Let it stand at room temperature for at least 2 weeks, shaking occasionally. Pour the oil through a strainer and discard the zest. Transfer to a jar and store, tightly covered, in refrigerator.
Homemade Lemon Extract - Sometimes I'm truly amazed at the things you can make yourself. Here's how to make lemon extract:
1 cup cheap Vodka
Peel of 2 lemons, just the yellow part
A small brown glass jar or bottle.
Place lemon peel and Vodka in jar and cover. Make sure the peel is fully submerged. Screw the lid on the jar, and store in a cool, dry place for at least two weeks, longer is even better. Transfer your finished lemon extract - minus the zest - to brown glass bottles. The dark glass will maximize the shelf life of your extract.
Lemon Twists and Ice Cubes - Brighten your drinks by putting twists of the peel into ice cubes. Perfect for summer parties. Use a vegetable peeler or knife to make long strips, cutting away from the white pith which can be quite bitter. Again, these can be frozen.
Herb-Lemon Zest Butter - Another “what more do I need to say,” right? Something so easy to make a wow meal! Here's how:
1/4 mixed herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, chervil, tarragon, and chives, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 finely grated lemon zest
Put herbs on a work surface. Add butter and lemon zest. Finely chop together until well combined. Season with salt. Transfer to a sheet of parchment or wax paper, placing on edge closest to you. Fold paper over and roll into a cylinder, twisting the ends; wrap airtight in foil. Chill until solid. Butter will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.
FOR CLEANING AND FRESHENING
Also known as lemon vinegar, this stuff is awesome at cutting grease and disinfecting. To make, simply place a bunch of lemon peels in any sized glass jar - mason jars would work great. Pour over. Put the lid on and let it sit for 2 weeks (I promise, it’s worth the wait). Then strain the liquid. Combine this with water (using a 50/50 ratio) and then use as you would your normal all purpose cleaner. It's smells great!
Freshen Your Fridge - Place a lemon peel or two inside your fridge to absorb smells and bring a bright citrus scent.
Simmering Stove Top Scents - This idea has been floating around Pinterest for some time, and with good reason. You’ll make your house smell heavenly simply by adding lemon peels to simmering water. Throw in some cloves, cinnamon sticks, and orange peels. This adds a wonderful scent and humidifies the air.
Clean Your Tea Kettle or Coffee Pot - To clean mineral deposits in your tea kettle: Fill the kettle with water and add a handful of thin slices of lemon peel. Bring it to a boil then turn off the heat. Let is sit for an hour, drain, and rinse well. To clean your coffee pot: Simply add your lemon peels with some ice and salt. Whirl everything around a minute or two and the dump and rinse.
Sanitize Your Cutting Board - Lemon’s natural acidity provides great antibacterial properties to home cleaning. After properly cleaning your cutting boards, rub the surface with half a lemon. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing.
Clean and Sanitize Your Microwave - We don’t use our microwave much, but I wish I knew this secret back when I did! Add lemon rinds to a microwave-safe bowl filled halfway with water. Cook on high for five minutes, allowing the water to boil and the steam to condense on the walls and tops of the oven. Remove the hot bowl (carefully!) and wipe away the mess with a towel. Yes.
Firelighters - Bake discarded lemon peels until they darken. These create natural, fragrant firelighters. So cool, and just in time for grilling season!
Make Drawer Sachets - Dry your lemon peels (either out in the sun or in a dehydrator) and place them inside of fabric sachets. Add spices, as desired such as cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and cardamom. Place in drawers to freshen.
Clean Your Stainless Steel, Polish Your Chrome, and Make Your Copper Shine - This one was my favorite as we’ve had some nasty residue on our steak knives that I’ve been trying to get off for a while. Simply sprinkle some sea salt on the metal, and then use the lemon peel to scrub away any dirt, grime, or stains. Rinse and polish! Think Natalie Dupree!
FOR BEAUTY AND HEALTH
Skin Brightening Scrub - This will really perk your skin up.
2/3 cup unrefined sea salt or Epsom salt, finely ground
1/3 cup your lemon-infused oil
If you’re using coarse ground sea salt or Epsom salt, run it through a food processor or coffee grinder until the granules are very fine. Mix all ingredients in a clean jar and store in a cool, dry place. To Use: Step into the bath or shower, but before you turn the shower on spoon a little of the mixture onto a washcloth, exfoliating mitt or your hands. Scrub all over in a circular motion, then rinse! Pat skin dry and follow with moisturizer if desired.
Nail Whitener - Do your nails turn yellow after wearing fingernail polish?? Sometimes mine do. Whiten fingernails by rubbing with a lemon wedge. So easy!
Travel Sickness Cure - Suck on a slice of lemon to help you stop feeling nauseous. This SO works!
Lighten Age Spots - Many folk remedies suggest using lemon peel to help lighten age spots. Apply a small piece to the affected area and leave on for an hour. Avoid sun exposure while it’s on your face.
Soften Dry Elbows - Use a half lemon sprinkled with baking soda on elbows. Just place your elbow in the lemon and twist the lemon, as if you are juicing it, for several minutes. Rinse and dry.
Make a Scented Humidifier - If your home suffers from dry heat in the winter, you can put lemon peels in a pot of water and simmer on the lowest stove-top setting to humidify and scent the air.
Make a Foot Soak - Boil citrus rinds for several minutes. Allow to cool completely and strain. Add ¼ cup milk, 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Soak feet for about 20 minutes and then pat dry to moisturize and soften feet.