Kitchen tips and tricks: the magic of lemons
Preserve fruit and vegetables
Familiar with the unhappy feeling when a fruit salad, which looked beautiful and bright a few hours earlier, has started looking less than appetising? Lemon juice could’ve helped. A squeeze of it over fruit and vegetables like potatoes, apples, pears and avocados will prevent browning and keeps things crisp. Guacamole simply isn’t complete without it.
As with baking soda and vinegar, lemon juice packs a powerful punch when it comes to pesky odours. Cutting boards, fridges, chopping boards and your dustbin can all benefit from its odour-eliminating talent – just squeeze some onto a sponge or directly onto the surface and wipe away unwanted smells. Lemon juice also does the trick in freshening hands after preparing seafood or chopping garlic.
Make glass glisten
Whether it’s your windows, the shower door, that dull vase, a French press, wineglasses or your favourite carafe, lemon juice will work wonders in getting rid of unsightly streaks or watermarks. Squeeze straight lemon juice onto a sponge or mix with water in a handy spray bottle, apply to the glass and easily wipe away stubborn marks. Magic.
Remove fabric stains
Stains are a pain and subjecting fabric, especially the delicate kind, to too many harsh chemicals can deteriorate it over time. Rather reach for lemon juice to naturally lighten or remove stubborn stains caused by berries, wine, oil, mildew and even tea. For tougher action, add some plain old table salt to make a paste, apply to the stain, leave it for a little while and wash as usual. What stain?
Get rid of streaks on stainless steel
Stainless steel can be a challenge to clean. No matter how many times you wash a pot or a knife and polish it with your fluffiest cloth, watermarks or rust marks just stay put. Fret no more! All you need to do is wipe the stainless steel surface with some freshly squeezed lemon juice, polish with a dry cloth and voila. Shine on!
Say goodbye to stained hands, chopping boards and utensils
Carrots, beetroot, spinach, tomato and a ton of other cooking ingredients can leave unattractive marks on your hands and kitchen tools. Rub some clean lemon juice onto your hands or the stained surfaces and wash away with water. For trickier stains, leave it for 15 minutes and repeat if necessary.
Yes, lemons even get rid of germs. Countertops, chopping boards, cooking utensils, fridges, stovetops and even walls, floors or door handles can all be freed from unwanted bacteria with a simple swipe of a lemon wedge. The fact that it also smells nice is a bonus.
Cut through grease
There’s a reason why lemons feature on the labels of the best dishwashing liquids. Lemon juice has the wonderful ability to cut straight through annoying grease and you can safely use it on kitchen appliances, pots, pans, sinks, braai grids, stovetops or any other surface calling for grease removal. Mix it up with a little bit of water in a spray bottle for easy application.
Clean the cheese grater
Let’s face it, cleaning the grater is a terrible task and no one enjoys doing it. To make it easier for you, cut a lemon in half and grate the pulp to loosen sticky or greasy bits of food.
Clean the microwave
Three steps is all that it takes to a brilliantly clean microwave. Put a few lemon slices in a bowl of water, microwave on high for 30 seconds and then wipe away food stains that would be otherwise hard to clean. Did we mention that it would also eliminate any old food odours? Yes, that too.
Make lemon cubes or freeze the zest for later
We all know what a wonderful ingredient this citrusy juice and its peel makes, it’s healthy for you and tastes oh so great. To ensure that you always have lemon juice and zest in reach, fill an ice tray with it and freeze for later use in cooking or add a few cubes to a glass of water for a refreshing and fat-free drink.
Some more things that we like about lemons is that a teaspoon of their juice can cure the hiccups, they’re great for garlic breath, mosquito bites are soothed by them and the juice can be used to make invisible ink (dip an ear bud in some of it, write a secret message on a piece of paper and see the writing appear when held to a light bulb later). Here’s hoping that life hands you plenty of lemons.
To get the most out of your lemons some storage guidelines should be taken into consideration. Also these lemon squeezing tools might make your life a lot easier and possibly avoid some stinging if there are nicks and cuts on your hands.
And if all this talk of lemon got your creative juices flowing, here are some lovely lemon recipes to try.