If you haven’t already noticed; I have a thing for lemons. I don’t know what fascinates me about these oddly shaped sour fruits, but I do believe heaven smells like a giant lemon orchard. One thing for sure is, I’m pretty much obsessed with lemons. After reading these 14 amazingly easy uses for lemons in the kitchen, I’m sure you’ll be obsessed with them as well.
I have tried and used all of these methods I’m going to be sharing with you below. Sometimes we hit failure and other times a home-run. This is not to say you’re going to hit the ball out of the park every single time, because like people, lemons are different.
These methods have worked for me over the years and I’m positive they’ll work for you as well. Before we get on with the good stuff, please note. The fresher the lemon, the better it works.
Keep your lemons fresh longer
The best way to keep your lemons at their peak of freshness and lasting longer is to put them in a zipper bag and store them in the vegetable/fruit bins in your refrigerator. Lemons tend to lose moisture, but by keeping them in a sealed bag in a moisture-controlled environment, they’ll last up to 4 weeks before starting to lose their juiciness. If you leave them on the counter, they’ll get harder and loose their juicy yumminess much quicker.
Want your lemons even juicer?
The best way to make your lemons even juicier is to roll them between the palm of your hand and the counter. By doing this, it manipulates or tricks the lemon into thinking it’s being juiced and pops the pulp, releasing more juice.
Before rolling them, make sure they’ve been sitting at room temperature for around an hour or so. If you don’t have that much time, you can also pop them in the microwave for up to 30 seconds (times may vary due to microwave wattage, so 30 seconds is the best estimate). Any more than that, they may explode.
Don’t have a microwave, or maybe it’s just busted? No worries. Just soak the lemon in a bowl of warm water for 2 minutes, then roll away.
Want to avoid having to fish out pits from your dish?
What’s worse than getting lemon juice in your eye? Okay, not much, but what’s equally as annoying is fishing out lemon pits from your dishes or measuring cup. The best way to tackle this is to squeeze the lemon with the pulp facing to the left or the right.
I don’t suggest this, but if you’re brave, you can squeeze it with the pulp side facing you. By doing this you may stand a good chance of the juice shooting into your eye.
If you squeeze the lemon facing you, do it slowly to avoid flying juice. You may want to dig into your PPE closet and don yourself with a good pair of goggles. By squeezing the juice in an upright position, the juice will flow freely down your hands and the acidity of the juice can burn your hands or worse yet…send you screaming if you have a paper cut.
This is why I advise buying a hand-held lemon juicer. You can buy these just about anywhere and they’re relatively cheap.
What should you do with any extra lemon juice?
- Use your extra juice to squeeze over apples or avocados to reduce them from turning brown.
- Make some lemonade.
- Make your rice fluffier by adding lemon juice into the water as the rice cooks. Not sure why this works, but it does. HINT: Don’t use a lot of lemon juice unless you’re making some chicken piccata or another dish that uses lemons, as you don’t want the lemon to overpower the taste of the rice.
- Add some lemon juice to homemade vinaigrette.
Use lemon juice as a meat tenderizer
Lemon juice works great as a meat tenderizer due to the citric acid that’s present in the juice. The acid helps make your meat tender by breaking down the fibers of the meat leaving it to be mouth-watering tender and delicious. I’ve found the longer it sits the more tender the beef is. Keep it marinating for a minimum of 1 hour.
Superhero tip: Remember to never leave raw meat on the counter (even if you’re marinating with lemon juice). Always put it in the refrigerator in a covered dish.
Getting rid of odors on your hands
If you have cuts on your hands, please don’t do this. Lemon juice is great for neutralizing odors from strong foods such as garlic and onions. If you’re unable to get rid of the smell after washing with soap and water, try a lemon bath. Squeeze some lemon juice in a bowl of warm water and soak your hands for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Wash your hands as usual to prevent a sticky residue that may appear after a lemon bath.
Use it as an ingredient substitute
Lemon Juice is a natural ingredient substitute for many items.
- Out of buttermilk? No problem, just add some lemon juice to regular milk.
- You don’t own any cream of tartar, no worries, just use lemon juice in its place.
- Have no limes? Replace the lime with lemon.
- Did you forget to buy sour cream? Just add lemon juice to a few other ingredients and voila! Instant sour cream.
Use lemon juice to reduce the smell of a stinky fridge
Sure most people use baking soda to reduce the smells in a fridge, but did you know lemons can do the same thing? All you need is a little bit of lemon juice in a cup or bowl and place it in the refrigerator. The smell will diminish in a matter of hours.
Superhero Tip: Due to the fact the juice will be in an unsealed glass or cup, place it in the back of the fridge on a shelf that doesn’t get much use to avoid having to clean up the juice if it spills. Set an alarm for 4 hours. If the smell is gone, you can discard the juice. If it’s still present, check again in another few hours.
Perfect for a DIY multi-purpose cleaner
Mix lemon juice and vinegar to make the most unstoppable and yummy smelling all-purpose cleaner. You can find the recipe along with other amazing non-toxic cleaning recipes at my earlier post, 6 of the best kitchen cleaners that will save you money.
Using lemons are perfect for cleaning your dishwasher
Yes, dishwashers need to be cleaned regularly. Running a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice through an empty dishwasher once a month will keep it at its top shape. If you don’t want to put the juice in your dishwasher, you can also put your lemon rinds in the utensil compartment instead.
Superhero tip: Freeze leftover lemon rinds and use them to freshen your dishwasher. They work just as great as fresh lemon rinds.
Use lemon juice to clean your microwave
Place an 8oz cup of water and lemon juice in the microwave for 5 minutes. This will loosen up the grime and grunge that’s stuck to the interior of the microwave. Just wipe up with a clean paper towel, and your microwave as good as new!
Remove stains from your cutting boards with lemon
Lemon juice works wonders on hard to remove stains like the juice from beets and celery juice. The best way to remove stains from a plastic or wooden cutting board is to place some coarse salt, such as kosher salt, and rub the salt in with half of a lemon.
If the stains are really tough to get out, you’ll want to add some fresh lemon juice (after you scrubbed the board) and set it in a sunny area in your kitchen for an hour or so. Between the heat of the sun’s rays and the citric acid, it should act as if you put household bleach on the cutting board.
Whichever method you use, always rinse off with warm water.
If you’d like to learn more about cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting cutting boards, you’ll want to read: The Unbiased Truth About Sanitizing Cutting Boards.
Freshen your garbage disposal with lemon rinds
I had read on the web there are many different types of DIY recipes out there to make your garbage disposal smell fresh using lemons. I’ve seen lemon pods, lemon dishwashing powder, you name it, it’s out there. But for me, I’m more of vinegar and baking soda type of gal when it comes to freshening up my garbage disposal.
Maybe you’re all out of vinegar and baking soda or just want to try something different. If that’s the case then you’ll want to pull your frozen lemon rinds out of the freezer and put them down the disposal. For best results, run the hot water while you’re using the disposal, as the heat will defrost the lemon rinds up quicker. You can also do this with fresh lemons; however, the frozen lemon rinds will also act as a blade sharpener for the disposal.
Use lemon juice to remove stains from plastic containers
Do you suffer from tomato sauce stained plastic container syndrome? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. For a while, it seemed as if all my plastic containers had a reddish hue to it until I tried using lemon juice to get rid of the stains. I used to use a plain mixture of baking soda and lemon, but I ran out of baking soda one day (hard to believe).
One of the easiest ways to rid that nasty stained tomato sauce plastic container is to rub lemon juice on it. Not only will it remove the stains but it will leave it smelling so fresh and yummy. Once you rub the lemon on it, let it sit for abo0ut 5 to 10 minutes. If the stains are super tough to get out (like if you used that stained container to heat something in the microwave; it may just benefit you to throw the container out.
What are some of the ways you use lemons in the kitchen. Share in a comment.
Until we meet again,