There’s nothing like homemade lemonade on a hot summer day! And there’s nothing like the fresh scent of a lemon when you cut into it. Did you know there are many uses for this versatile fruit? Here are some surprising ideas for things you can do with lemons.

  1. Cleaning: Mix lemon rinds into vinegar and let sit in a spray bottle for a week before using it. This cleaner helps kill mold and germs (and smells better than straight vinegar!) You can also scrub chrome bath fixtures with half a lemon to remove water stains. You can clean and deodorize your cutting board by running a cut lemon over the surface a few times and then add kosher salt to scrub briefly. Rinse well.
  2. Detox: Start your day with a glass of warm water with fresh lemon. Try a glass about a half hour before breakfast and the lemon juice will help your body absorb your food nutrients better.
  3. Save Your Food: Lemon juice is perfect for preserving and restoring food. If you want to save half an avocado, sprinkle the cut edge with lemon juice and store in the refrigerator. Apple slices stay fresh for school lunches if you soak the slices in a bowl of cold water with one tablespoon lemon juice first. You can also soak wilting lettuce in cold water with lemon juice in the refrigerator for about an hour to help it regain its original crispness.
  4. Help Your Skin. Make a paste of baking soda and lemon juice and massage into feet, rinsing well. This will help clean, buff, and deodorize your soles and toes. You can also a face mask to brighten skin naturally by combining a little honey and lemon and rubbing the mixture on your face. Let it sit for ten minutes, rinse, and follow up with your favorite moisturizer.
  5. Cooking: Pair lemon with chicken for a simple summer meal. Floured and pan-fried chicken breasts tossed with lemon slices over rice or a salad is a simple tasty meal. Use lemon zest to flavor tea, smoothies, desserts, salads, and homemade salad dressings.
  6. Make Ice Cubes: Freeze a small slice of lemon with water in each ice cube tray compartment. Add ice to water, iced tea, or soda for a refreshing flavor.
  7. Make Lemonade! Homemade lemonade is easy and delicious. Start by boiling half a cup of sugar and half a cup of water to make a simple syrup. Mix the syrup with the juice from about 6 or 7 lemons and more water (2.5-3 cups depending on taste). You can garnish with a sprig of basil or even mint or add some lemon slices. Simple and oh so summery!

Tip: Buy a dozen lemons and store in plastic bags in the refrigerator. They’ll last longer and stay fresher this way.