Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Magical Lemon

Who knew that lemons are so versatile? Not only do they make a great thirst quenching beverage (Did you know that drinking lemonade may date back to medieval Egypt?) but lemons can be used both externally and internally. Lemons have more uses than just flavoring fish or making my favorite lemon poppy seed muffins. This humble, sour fruit can make products for your medicine cabinet, for your beauty basket or for your cleaning bin. Lemons are high in Vitamin C, which is important for a strong immune system. Lemons are also antibacterial, antiviral, contain antioxidants and anti-cancer properties......and are a bit magical. ;)

  • Water Kefir "Lemonade" - Add a couple lemon slices to your brew. Yummy probiotic.
  • Tea for colds - hot water, lemon and honey. So soothing on a scratchy throat.
  • Cough Syrup - 1 cup honey, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 2 garlic cloves, 1 t. turmeric, chunk of ginger root.
  • Athlete's Foot - mix the juice of half a lemon with 2 cups of water. Rinse feet. (This also helps smelly feet!)
  • Furniture Polish - Mix lemon juice with olive oil.
  • Disinfectant - Every time I cut up a lemon I use the end piece to clean my cutting board. After rubbing on my cutting boards, I throw the lemon into my garbage disposal. Cleans the disposal and leaves it smelling fresh and "citrus-y".
  • Shower Spray - recipe in earlier post. Helps fight mildew.
  • Microwave - squeeze a little lemon juice into a cup of water (I use my Pyrex measuring cup for this job), place in microwave and nuke for a few minutes. Remove (careful the container will be hot!) and wipe out microwave. The helps loosen any stuck on gunk, the lemon juice eliminates any odors.
  • Clean coffee pot. I learned this trick from my days as a waitress at Perkins. In the coffee pot add about half a tablespoon of salt, squeeze in half a lemon, add a few ice cubes and shake. Dump out (preferably in the garbage disposal to "kill two birds with one stone") and rinse.
  • Stain remover - my white kitchen counter tops get stained easily. I sprinkle a bit of baking soda on the stain, squeeze a little juice on top and let sit for five minutes (or until I remember that I was cleaning the counter) and then I rub the lemon over this mixture and wipe clean.
  • Hair Spray (haven't personally tried this recipe as I don't use hair spray, but I made it for hubby and it worked for him) -  Chop 2 lemons, simmer in 2 cups of water on low heat until lemons are soft. Cool, strain out lemons, and put in a spray bottle.
  • Use as an astringent on pimples. Simply apply lemon juice with a cotton ball or make a toner by mixing 1/2 lemon juice, 1 cup water and 2/3 c. witch hazel.
  • Facial Mask -  One ripe banana and blend it with 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Leave on for 15 minutes
  • Lighten hair - Dilute 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice with 1/4 cup of water. Put the mixture in your hair and let it sit for 30 minutes
  • Hair Rinse - mix 1-2 T. of lemon juice with 1 cup water. (I use this hair rinse once a week or so)
  • Dandruff Control - again, use as a rinse by diluting with water OR mix the juice of one lemon with 1/2 cup olive oil. Apply to hair and let soak a bit, shampoo and rinse.
  • Whiten Teeth - I learned this trick in my bartending days. A woman who liked red wine would bite into a lemon slice to prevent the wine from staining her teeth. Sucking on lemons is also a good breath freshener.
  • Spray on too much perfume? Rub area with lemon.
  • Lines from self-tanning lotions? Again, rub area with a lemon. Lemon is a good skin "lightener".
  • Stained fingernails - soak in lemon juice. Good for "garden hands".
It is believed that lemons originated in India and later "migrated" through the Mediterranean. Christopher Columbus introduced lemons to the Americas when, in 1493, he brought lemon seeds to Hispaniola. Now if I could just figure out how to grow a couple lemon trees in my Minnesota garden.

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