Twenty-nine fantastic ways to use your old or leftover lemons.
This fruit truly gets a bad rap for its name! The sour taste can leave a bitter aftertaste in our mouths.
As they say, “There is always a bad lemon in the bunch.”
If you purchase a car that ends up in the shop often, we call it a “lemon” or a bad relationship that has gone sour.
Well, good news! Lemons are a great citrus fruit that has a lot to offer. This small bright yellow fruit is full of possibilities.
From baking, cleaning, and decorating your home, to even a soft body scrub in the shower.
Here are more than 29 ways to utilize one of nature’s most versatile fruits!
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There are several varieties of lemons, but the three most commonly found are Meyer lemons, Eureka, and Lisbon.
The largest producers of this versatile fruit are India, Mexico, and the United States, and luckily for us consumers, you can find them in supermarkets year-round.
Household uses for expired or extra lemons
Beyond cooking, which we will get to, there are many uses for this amazing citrus in the kitchen.
- Put a few slices down the garbage disposal; it smells good, and the citrus juices clean the disposal for you.
- Cut a lemon in half and wipe down your cutting board with a bit of lemon juice.
- Make citrus zest- Using a zester, grate the rinds of the fruit and freeze the zest in a freezer bag to use later.
- Make pure fresh lemon juice and freeze it using ice cube trays.
- Use the juice of a lemon to remove hard water stains on shower doors.
- Make ice cubes by mixing 1 cup of water to 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Add small pieces of citrus peels for best results.
- Steam clean your microwave. Start with a bowl of water. Add several sliced lemons, a few tablespoons of vinegar, a few drops of lemon oil, and a sprig of rosemary. Turn the microwave on for 5-10 minutes. When the microwave is off, do not open the door. Let the mixture steam in the microwave for 30 minutes. Then wipe down the inside for a fresh, clean microwave.
- Use a lemon to remove underarm stains on your white clothes.
- Preserve your lemons for later like my friend Mary @lifeatbellaterra, she even has a fabulous post with a recipe on how to use them.
- Make a homemade cleaning solution.
Supplies for homemade cleaning solution
- One one-gallon glass jar .
- Lemon halves that have been squeezed (enough to fill the jar).
- White distilled Vinegar, enough to cover all of the leftover rind in the jar.
- I like to zest my lemons, juice them ( to freeze the juice) then put the halves in a jar to make the my cleaning solution. This way, I get three different uses out of the citrus.
Pack the lemon half rinds into the jar and cover with white vinegar. Set in a sunny spot for two to three weeks. They look so pretty in the jar, so I left mine in a sunny spot on the kitchen counter to enjoy them while they marinate.
Instructions for the homemade lemon cleaning solution
- Strain the vinegar, and discard the peels.
- Pour 1/2 cup of the vinegar mixture into a spray bottle. Add two cups of cold water, one teaspoon of Castile soap, and 15 drops of pure lemon essential oil ( this is optional )
- Shake the mixture well, spray onto the surface, and wipe clean with a dry cloth.
- Do NOT use this cleaner on natural marble, stone countertops, or stone tile.
Watch this video of how I put fresh lemons on my front door
What to do with lemons while cooking in the kitchen
This could be a very long list! I can think of so many yummy treats and dishes using my favorite citrus fruit, but here are just a few of my favorites.
1. Make a quick and simple salad dressing. Combine 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 cup good olive oil, one teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. This is so quick, easy, and delicious.
2. Have you ever heard of a lemon sponge? This recipe was my grandmother’s and one of my family’s favorites.
If you love a sweet and tart dessert, you will love this!
During the baking process, the batter separates. The top becomes like a cake, and the bottom is a custard.
This dessert is straightforward and makes a beautiful presentation on the table.
Make lemon curd
3. My friend Missy @sonatahomedesigns makes the best lemon curd. It is the perfect addition to your fresh morning scones. You can see the full recipe here.
4. Another favorite of mine is lemon chiffon, and nobody makes it better than Brooke @farmhouse1820. She has perfected her recipe and will teach you about macerated berries and the best way to make them.
5. While cooking, pour yourself a glass of water or a cup of hot tea with fresh lemon slices. (always keep sliced fruit in an airtight container in the refrigerator for easy access).
6. Lemon chicken is another one of my favorites. I recently tried this recipe from Lynn @livinglargeinasmallhouse, and it was delightful. It was quick and easy, which made it even better.
7. Make a fresh pitcher of homemade lemonade. A simple recipe of:
- 1 cup of hot water
- 1 3/4 cup of white sugar
- The juice of 10 lemons
- 7.5 cups of ice-cold water
Add hot water and sugar in a small saucepan, bring the liquid to a boil, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. (This makes simple syrup)
Juice your fruit and strain until you reach 1 1/2 cups of pure juice.
Pour 7 1/2 cups of cold water into a pitcher, and add the lemon juice and simple syrup to taste.
Add ice and serve.
8. Make a batch of homemade Limoncello. This is a family recipe shared by my friend Susan @henandhorsedesigns. This delicious Italian liqueur can be sipped or mixed with soda water for a refreshing cocktail.
9. Make a lemon meringue pie.
Decorate with whole lemons
Not only are lemons useful, but they are very pretty. Their bright yellow skin can add a pop of color to a room for a fresh look.
- Gather a fruit basket or bowl and fill it with whole lemons! Now, wasn’t that an easy way to decorate?
- Make a fresh lemon wreath to hang on your door. I do this every year, adding a special touch to my front porch.
- Add a dough bowl of whole fresh citrus for a pop of color during winter.
- Make a fresh lemon floral arrangement to decorate your table.
Another good idea is to decorate a cake with citrus and blueberries. This is always a hit in my house, even though the cake is fake. Shhh, don’t tell my family.
- Make candles like @hometalk; This DIY candle project is perfect for salvaging expiring lemons or using those that you have squeezed for fresh juice! They smell wonderful & clean while adding a pop of color to your home decor!
Make a Flower vase with sliced citrus
Check out this flower vase. This is one of my favorite things to do and it is so easy! You can read the full blog post here.
Add some citrus to your beauty routine
Do you know all of the health benefits of this amazing fruit?
They are full of vitamin C, potassium, and Vitamin B6. They aid in heart health. Lemons also help prevent kidney stones, boost your immune system, and help you to maintain your weight.
Using this yellow citrus is a natural way of cleansing and moisturizing our skin as well. Here are a few suggestions you can try at home.
- Cut a lemon in half, rub it over your face for 3 minutes, rinse with warm water, and moisturize.
- Lighten your hair. Cut a whole fruit in half and squeeze the juice directly onto your hair. Next, sit in the sun for a few hours.
- Add lemon juice to some baking soda to form a paste. Rub this paste onto any rough skin patches you may have. Rinse thoroughly and moisturize.
- Make a salt scrub like my friend Chas @chascrazycreations. You will love this! Not only is it lovely in the bath, but it makes a very nice gift.
So when life gives you lemons, don’t just make lemonade – use them to create something new and exciting. Be creative and resourceful with your spent fruit. Thanks for reading, and I hope this post inspired you somehow.
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