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Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy lemons for happy days

When I was very young,  I  liked to suck on lemons.  Something about that delicious, tart, juicy, sunshiny fruit  made me happy. Even today, I prefer  tart and tangy over sweet and syrupy.  Except for  Nutella- I love the sweetness of Nutella. But I digress. . .

I  use lemons a lot.  Lemon slices stuffed in a  roast chicken; lemon juice drizzled on  sauteed fish; lemon  pie, lemon curd, lemon in sauces and salad dressings; lemon  zest in cakes, cookies, soups,sauces; candied lemon peels as a garnish. Lemons are so useful and so versatile. And so tasty! 

But lemons are also useful around the house. For years, I have used lemons to rub stains out of my cutting boards.  I've dipped  lemon halves in baking soda or salt to use as a scrub for the kitchen counters, and lemon juice is great for removing  stains from  lots of things.

For several years, I've been trying to get away from using  harsh chemicals around the house. I bought a steam mop for the floors which  not only gets the floors sparkly clean but saves  a lot of money since I no longer need to buy  floor cleaners.  I've used  vinegar to  clean the windows (This isn't a new idea- I can remember my mother using nothing but  vinegar water and newspapers to clean  and polish windows when I was young). I've combined vinegar and baking soda to  clean the drains in the sink and to  scrub burned food off pots. And now, thanks to One Good Thing by Jillee, a wonderful blog with   household tips, recipes and other good stuff, I've  discovered a new way to use lemons and vinegar together. Jillee has a recipe for lemon vinegar, and since the  neighborhood Piggly Wiggly had bags of  lemons on sale, I couldn't resist.

First I  cut the lemons in half and squeezed  out the juice.   While  doing this I came to the conclusion that  we need a more efficient   juice extractor.  My little citrus reamer is fine for doing one or two  lemons but it's hard on the wrist  when  you're  juicing a whole bag of  lemons. But I got them all juiced- enough to fill up an ice cube tray for the freezer. Now, when a recipe calls for  just a little lemon juice, I can  use a  lemon juice cube, or use  several to make a  glass of lemonade.

After juicing, I cut the lemons into quarters and put them in canning jars.  There were enough lemons to fill one quart jar and one pint jar. I then filled the jars with white vinegar and capped them. Now they are  tucked away in the cupboard.  After two weeks I'll take them down, strain the  liquid, mix it  50/50 with some water, put it in some spray bottles and try it out.  I can hardly wait!

I was trying to think of a song about lemons,  and of course, Led Zeppelin's  Lemon Song came to mind, plus one or two others.  But they were all   on the depressing side, and I wanted a happy lemon song.   I finally found  Happy Lemon!  Enjoy :-)

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