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The beauty of having a lemon tree is fruit on tap, but after a while I've made all the lemonade and lemon meringue pie that I can handle, there's jars of preserved lemons stacked in my cupboard and all of my friends leave with my house with a lemon goodie bag.
I’ve been getting creative with uses for lemon, lemon peels, and rinds. These are my top 9 tips!
Make an all-purpose cleaner
This one is for the lemon peels, its great because you can reuse the same old cleaning spray bottle over and over, cutting down on your single-use plastic waste.
Take the peels of about five lemons (it'll be relative to your jar size though) and put them in a large jar, fill it to the top with white distilled vinegar and pop it in a cupboard out of direct sunlight for about 2 weeks. Strain out the peels and funnel your solution into a spray bottle. Use it on kitchen tops, in the bathroom, anywhere that's looking grimy!
Refresh your cutting board
It's important to give your cutting board a proper soak and sanitize every few months – especially if it's wooden. In the mean time this is a great way to keep them fresh and odourless.
Sprinkle your cutting board with a hard grain salt then take a squeezed half lemon (better if there's still some pulp intact) and rub it vigorously. Give it a good rinse and allow to dry.
Clean your microwave and stovetop
Grab one or two lemon halves that you have already squeezed for juice. Put them into the microwave for about 20 seconds, take them out (careful because they might be very hot). Rub them onto the dirty surface of your microwave or stovetop then wipe with a wet dish cloth.
Dehydrate your peels for recipes and tea
Cut the rind into strips, and scrape away as much of the bitter pith as you can. Leave the peels in a single layer on a plate or drying rack for a few days.
If you're very eager, you can also toast them in a low heated oven until completely dry. Lay them out on baking paper and pop them into a low heated oven, about 100 degrees. They'll dry out slowly over a few hours, make sure to check and turn them every 20 minutes of so. Once they're done store them in an airtight container.
Make lemon pepper
Take the dehydrated lemon peels you've just made and chop them finely, then mix into your pepper grater for fresh lemon pepper.
Deodorise you garbage bin
If your trash can is a bit on the nose just take lemon peels – making sure to remove as much with pith as possible – and place them in your bin underneath the plastic bag. This will add a lemon scent that is so much nicer than the artificial kind. Just replace them weekly.
Remove scum and grime from your bathtub or sink
If you haven't noticed, we love baking soda for just about everything around the house.
When you notice a scum build up in your bathroom sprinkle the affected area with baking soda and use lemon quarters to scrub it away. The lemon acts as a bleaching agent and makes everything squeaky-clean.
Clean off underarm stains
If you've noticed a bit of discolouration around the underarms of your shirts, you can take a squeezed lemon half and rub it vigorously on the stain, if It looks like a really tough stain sprinkle some baking soda on top for good measure. Let it sit overnight and then wash as normal. This works for grease stains too.
Clean coffee and teapots
Sediment often builds up on coffee and teapots, instead of using an abrasive cleaner add the rinds of two lemons, 2 tablespoons of salt and a cup or two of ice to a cool pot. Swirl it around in there for a few minutes or until you've noticed it all dissolve, it'll be clean as a whistle!
Finally, despite popular belief, you can compost citrus peels
Close the loop in your kitchen. If none of the above work, add lemon peels and leftovers to your compost. Citrus peelings have gotten a bad rap in composting in part to the fact that it can take a long time for the peels to break down. You can speed up how fast citrus in compost breaks down by cutting up the peels into small pieces.
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