3 Ways to Use Lemons in the Home

Every year I order a box of Meyer Lemons from Birch-Hill Organics.  It is a little treat I enjoy every year, because I love lemons and all things sour.

When I order a box, the question always is: what do I plan to do with all of these lemons?  Here’s what I do…

Lemon Preserves

The main reason why I buy a box of Meyer Lemons is to make lemon preserves.  These lemons tend to be sweeter than the regular lemons you pick up from the grocery store.  They are also juicier!  

Here’s how you make preserves:  you will need canning jars and salt (along with the lemons).  Make sure to wash all of the lemons well to remove any chemicals or pesticides.

  1. Cut each lemon in half (start with five). 
  2. Add salt to the bottom of the canning jar. [I use sea salt.]
  3. Press each lemon half into the bottom of the jar, squeezing out as much use as you can.  [Note: Leave the rinds in the jar.]
  4. Add salt. 
  5. Continue adding lemon halves, pressing them down into the jar, adding salt each time you add a lemon half. 
  6. Proceed to add lemons until you fill the entire jar. 
  7. Seal the jar and place on a shelf (without direct sunlight) for 3 months.

Lemon preserves are used in many French and Moroccan recipes.  Yes, you eat the entire lemon in these recipes.  Meyer Lemons are very pleasant to use as preserves in these dishes as compared to their counterparts, because they are not as bitter.  

I make lemon preserves because all of my favorite French and Moroccan recipes call for them.  These preserves are not so easy to find in stores.  That is why I make my own.  It is so simple to make.  Plus, you are the one that has control over what goes into the preserves.  You are not forced to guess what someone else is putting in store bought preserves.

A Green Cleaning Solution

For those who like to green their cleaning and keep toxic chemicals out of your home, this is how I make my own cleaning solution.

I keep a canning jar on my counter at all times and add citrus rinds to it.  Instead of tossing used rinds into the trash, I remove the pulp from the citrus and add the rinds to the jar.  I add white vinegar about a quarter or halfway up the jar.  Then as the weeks go on, I continue to add the citrus rinds to the jar. 

When it fills up, I wait two weeks before using the vinegar solution in the jar.  I just remove the rinds (you can toss them at this point, but wait until you read the next section) and put the solution in a spray bottle.  You can now use this as an all-purpose cleaner.  

I would like to experiment with other citrus rinds (oranges and grapefruit) in the future to see what type of scent the solution gives off.  Note: I do add lime rinds to the lemon rind jars too.  

A Mosquito Repellent?

A little something I discovered recently is that this cleaning solution can actually work as a mosquito repellent, especially if you have a problem mosquito inside your home.

Just place the rinds in a bowl, along with a little bit of the vinegar solution, and keep the bowl in rooms where mosquitoes may roam. Change out every few days so as to not attract fruit flies.  

So far, this has worked for me.  Because this has been working, I keep the rinds in the solution in the jars.  It is not mandatory that you have to remove the rinds from the jar and toss them.  You can keep them in there as long as you like.  

Someone suggested spraying the solution on your body before bed to maybe deter the mosquitoes from biting you.  I haven’t attempted this yet, but if you do try this, make sure to dilute the vinegar solution with water before applying. 

I think I would rather spray the bedding before applying the solution to my skin.  But maybe one weekend I will try this, because I have read that vinegar helps with skin issues and balances the pH.  

BONUS: If you are bitten by a mosquito, apply Vicks VapoRub (or a similar medicated rub) to the bite.  This actually helps keep the bite from being itchy.  Make sure to apply each night until the bite is gone.  Usually takes 2-3 days.  Also, just a FYI, it takes about 30 minutes for the relief to set in.