Simple, Stylish and Self-Indulgent Uses For Lemon

 

creative uses for lemon

I am a bit embarrassed to say that for a long time I labeled lemon as a valuable medicinal, but otherwise, an unexciting plant. I strongly suspect that this is a consequence of the fact that during my early childhood, I drank gallons of lemonade for my frequent colds.

Luckily, this childish attitude of mine has changed. Over the years I learned to rely on lemon as a wonderful and invigorating partner that boosts my daily rituals with style and flavor. If you are so lucky to live in an area where lemons grow, go pick some fresh lemons right from a tree.

Be French With Citron Presse

Make a lemonade your signature drink (just like many French women do). Even though I sadly confess that after reading “French Women Don’t Get Fat” I can’t possibly behave like a French woman (for one, I like to eat standing, apparently a big no-no for the French woman), a fresh lemonade or citron presse is my drink of choice. The recipe is amazingly simple: Squeeze a juice of one lemon (half will do), pour it in a glass and fill it up with cold or lukewarm water. No sugar is added.

How to drink it in style:

Have a morning ritual by taking your lemonade first thing in the morning. Sip it slowly, acknowledging how fortunate you are to be drinking this wonderful elixir. Its refreshing acidity will energize you, while providing nourishment and cleansing your organism from toxins thanks to lemon’s amazing properties.

Drink lemonade during the day instead of soda or any other sugary drink.

On a hot day, add a touch of festivity  to your lemon juice by mixing it with cool sparkling water. Garnish it with fresh mint leaves (which you can eat afterwards). Don’t forget to pour it in a cocktail glass of your choice.

For moms: Introduce this drink to your kids as early as you can, so you can enjoy it together! To my surprise, my (then) ten-month old baby gave us a big smile (and asked for more) when my geeky husband tried a lemon wedge experiment on her. She practically introduced herself to citron presse.

Naturally Soften and Nourish Your Skin

Assuming you’re still in your kitchen or maybe a terrace of your French chateau (sipping your citron presse) you can now squeeze a few remaining drops from your lemon half and rub it on your face, elbows, knees…anything  that needs softening and nourishment (naturally, avoiding your eyes).  Store-bought “breakthrough” serums don’t come close to this goodness straight from the source. The closer, the better (as it always is).

Add a Touch of Sun to Your Home With a Lemon Room Deodorizer

homemade lemon room deodorizerWhy spend money on room deodorizers with unpronounceable & mystery ingredients when you can make your very own, both fragrant and natural? This recipe is so simple, but works wonders, just like most simple things do. You will need vodka and rind of lemon for this recipe.

Put rinds in a jar and fill it with vodka. Cover and let sit for a few days. Fill half of the spray bottle with the vodka mix and the rest with water. The vodka and citrus are both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Spray it all around your house for fresh, sunny scent that will instantly put you in a a good mood.

Be Italian With Canarino

For those lemon peels that didn’t make it to your room deodorizer, here is a recipe for canarino, a lemon tea from Italy. Shave off a 1-inch long strip of the organic lemon, avoiding the white pith. Put the strip of peel into a cup and pour boiling water over it.  Steep for 3-5 minutes. Enjoy!

Boost Your Food With Flavor

While I love using vinegar in my salad, I consider adding a freshly squeezed lemon juice to my salad a special indulgence. I also add it to sandwiches, meals and soups to supercharge them with fresh, tangy flavor. Lemon juice is my secret ingredient when I make soups that are naturally mild in flavor. If you are adding a lemon to a soup or anything that’s being cooked, add it at the very end to maintain the vitamin potency.

Be Even More Italian With Limoncello

enjoying homemade limoncello

Limoncello is a national drink of Italy, and it takes as little as twenty days to make and eighty days to reach perfection. This is a wonderful way to utilize lemon zest.

Tip: Home-made limoncello makes a nice holiday gift for friends and family. It’s special and earth-friendly.

What you will need:

8 lemons

1 bottle (750 ml) of vodka

2.5 cups water

2 cups sugar

Instructions

Wash the lemons (organic) with water to remove any possible residues and pat them dry. Zest the lemons with a vegetable peeler, excluding the white pith. Fill a large glass jar with vodka, add zest. Cover the jar and let rest at room temperature for at least 10 days and up to 40 days in a dark place. The longer the mixture rests, the stronger the taste will be.

In a large pot, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let the syrup cool completely before adding it to the limoncello mixture.

Add sugar mix to the lemon-vodka blend, cover and let it rest for another 10 to 40 days. After the rest period is over, strain it, discarding the zest. Pour limoncello in a bottle and seal it. Keep it in the freezer until ready to serve. Serve ice cold. Enjoy responsibly.

The cost to make limoncello: Around 20 dollars.

Sipping your icy-cold limoncello after almost endless wait: Priceless.

photo courtesy: ekashonya

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