The addition of lemon juice to recipes builds a zesty flavour that can’t be beat. There are a few varieties of lemons, but the most popular varieties are Eureka (‘Four Seasons’) which is available year-round, and Meyer which is in season from November to March and tastes like a combination of a lemon and a orange.
Regarding the health benefits, a 2016 study found citrus fruits and juices contain a wide range of nutrients, including carbohydrates, fibre, vitamin C, potassium, folate, calcium, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin A, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and a variety of phytochemicals. Additionally, according to World’s Healthiest Foods, a quarter cup of lemon juice contains 31% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, 3% of folate, and 2% of potassium. Furthermore, just one raw lemon contains 139% of the recommended daily vitamin C intake at only 22 calories!
Despite all of the benefits of lemons, an abundance of them are discarded in the food industry due to rigorous produce standards and handling practices. This is especially wasteful, considering the energy, emissions, and resources that went into producing, harvesting, packaging, and transporting lemons to Canada, only for them to be rejected by consumers and grocery standards. In an effort to shift food standards in my own home, I make a point of getting lemons that are ‘ugly’, yet perfectly edible, to ensure the resources that went into producing the fruit do not go to waste alongside the lemon.
In this blog post, I’ll go over some of my favourite uses for lemons that go beyond lemonade — when life gives you ugly lemons, find uses for them around the house and in recipes!
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Uses Around the Home
Cleaning the Microwave
Using lemons to clean the microwave is a great, non-toxic way to sanitize and keep your microwave smelling fresh. A 2019 study reaffirmed that the acidity and flavonoid compounds found in lemons have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that have the potential to inhibit pathogenic bacteria.
On its own, white vinegar provides natural but effective antimicrobial activity. Infusing white vinegar with lemon peels gives it a fresh, citrusy scent with natural anti-fungal, antibacterial, insecticidal, and deodorizing properties.
Degrease Pots & Pans
Trying to remove caked on grease and gunk from pans by hand is a tedious and time-consuming task that, in my household, often leads to dishes piling up in the sink to “let them soak”. Instead of fighting with the grease and burnt-on food, a far easier method utilizes lemons and the natural acidity they possess.
Uses in Recipes
Parmesan-Crusted Lemon & Garlic Chicken
This 30-minute recipe is perfect for busy weeknights, and is bound to become a go-to staple in your household.
- I found it was useful to add some bread crumbs to the breading mixture to give it a bit more flavour and make it easier to stick to the chicken.
- The garlic in the sauce turned blue when I was cooking it. Apparently this is a ‘normal’ thing to happen when cooking garlic with acidic items (i.e., lemons), so don’t be worried if it happens to you too!
Lemon and Ginger Salad Dressing
This healthy and easy to prepare 6-ingredient recipe is vegan, paleo, and gluten free, and will add a zest to any salad.
Buttermilk is a staple ingredient for baking. It can be used to add moistness and tang to a variety of recipes such as cupcakes, pancakes, white cake, muffins and cookies. Traditionally, buttermilk is the liquid that’s left in a churn after making homemade butter. It’s naturally non-fat and rich in cultures, and it stays fresh longer than regular milk. Despite its wide range of uses, it’s not a common item in most households. Fortunately, it is very easy to make.
I hope these tips for using ‘ugly’ lemons were helpful! Tag us @pfenningsfarms on Instagram if you try any of them out.