When I planted a lemon tree in my yard a decade ago, I figured I’d have all the lemons I could handle.
And how. After several modest harvests, the tree exploded last year. This season, I got at least 50 lemons — and these are Meyer lemons, the size of grapefruits.
Last year, I juiced the entire crop. A bunch of it was frozen, and I was still dropping lemon ice cubes in my tea glass well into summer.
Two dozen lemons produced nearly a gallon of juice, and a quick perusal of some cookbooks found very few recipes calling for more than a few tablespoons of the stuff. So, what to do with it? Here are some suggestions:
11 things to do with lemons
Clean your microwave
Put sliced lemons in a bowl and microwave it for five minutes. You should be able to wipe the inside of the microwave clean afterward, and be left with a lemony-fresh scent.
Add some shine to your hair
Add juice of one lemon to an 8-ounce glass of warm water, then use it to rinse your hair after shampooing to add a shine. But be careful — too much lemon juice and not enough water will lighten already light hair and add an orange tinge to darker hair.
De-stink the house
Throw a few lemon peels into the garbage disposal, then flip the switch to neutralize odors. You can also clean wooden cutting boards and utensils with lemon juice to reduce odors. Or soak a sponge in lemon juice and put it in your refrigerator for a few hours to absorb smells.
Halve a lemon and dip it in kosher salt. Use it to scrub hard-water stains and soap scum from your shower.
Mix a tablespoon of plain yogurt, two tablespoons of ground oatmeal, a teaspoon of turmeric and a teaspoon of lemon juice, then apply to age spots for 30 minutes. Repeat weekly.
Clean cutting boards
White plastic cutting boards look great — until someone cuts carrots or strawberries on them. Scrub your white plastic cutting board with half a lemon, then set it out in the sun for a few hours.
Mix one tablespoon lemon juice into a cup of milk. The acid in the lemon juice will curdle the milk after about five minutes, which means it’s ready for you to make pancakes.
Make your stainless steel sparkle
Mix the juice from one or two lemons with four or five tablespoons of hot water and use it to wipe down your stainless steel appliances.
Write secret notes
Remember that trick you learned where you write a note in lemon juice then expose it to a heat source to reveal the message? Use white paper and a mild heat source — a lightbulb, a steamless iron or a candle — for best results.
Make a household cleaner
Fill a half-gallon container with lemon peels, then top it off with white vinegar. Store in a cool, dark place for two weeks, strain and you’ve got a grease-cutting cleaner with antibacterial properties.
Mix lemon juice, water and sugar to taste. Note that Meyer lemons are sweeter than most, so you might not need as much sugar as you think (Meyer lemon juice mixed with just water isn’t bad either). Try agave syrup or honey instead of sugar, or add mint.