Photography: Paulette Phlipot
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Lemons, those quintessential slices of summer—we love them! We celebrate them in our desserts and perch their perfect crescents on the rim of our iced teas. Many of us made our first entrepreneurial venture into the world of commerce at the end of our driveway selling lemonade for a quarter a glass. Lemons definitely call to mind good things to eat and refreshing summer drinks. Their uses, however, are not limited to culinary endeavors.
Lemons can play a role in decorating, cleaning, even flower arranging.
Buying & Storing Lemons
The freshest lemons will generally have lustrous, firm skin–although some thinner-skinned varieties may be slightly wrinkled. Choose a lemon that is heavy in your hand. It will be juicier.
If you are using the fruit in a couple of days, store your lemons in a basket at room temperature. Otherwise, store in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.
Use lemons in your decorating. Their beautiful shape and color, and clean fragrance, make them a natural choice to enhance your décor. Piled high in a basket, lemons make a beautiful centerpiece. Added to the vase of a large floral arrangement, lemons anchor the stems of the flowers and provide visual interest through the glass.
Lemons have uses in the laundry room, as well. Adding a quarter cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle keeps your whites bright. You can also use lemons to remove stains from natural fabrics, such as cotton and linen. Squeeze lemon juice directly on the stain, then place the garment in the sun for an hour or so. Repeat if necessary. Launder as usual.
In the kitchen, lemons do more than enhance your cuisine. If your garbage disposal needs a bit of freshening up, grind up some lemon peels to dispel odors. You can also make use of a lemon that you have squeezed for juice. Just add a bit of coarse salt and polish your copper pans until they gleam.
With their fruit acids, lemons are also great for your skin. After cleansing your face, finish with a lemon rinse: Just fill a basin with warm water, add a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice, then rinse your face. The lemon will counterbalance the alkalinity of soap, and its astringent, antiseptic, and exfoliating qualities will result in a smoother, clearer complexion.