Let’s take a look around your kitchen. There is a sink, an oven, and a whole lot of dishes. There are drawers filled with utensils and a fridge stocked with produce of all kinds. There are so many items in just one room! What do all of these things have in common? Each is necessary within the kitchen.
There is one unique and vital item in your kitchen, one that you may not expect: lemons. Yes, you might not have physical lemons in your fridge, but you at least have something pertaining to lemons – lemon oil, lemon juice, lemon dish soap…the list goes on.
Lemons are represented in nearly every area of the kitchen; they are used in cooking, baking, and cleaning. It is nearly impossible not to have them in your kitchen, and, while their taste may be sour, lemons pack a sweet punch by keeping your kitchen smelling fresh and your food full of flavor. On that note, let us dive into the world of lemons, “lemon aid,” and take a closer look at just what makes lemons so special.
Lemon Health Benefits
Now that we have established that lemons are a central piece of our lives, let’s dive into why that is. Starting with a list of their extensive health benefits.
Lemons are low in calories, with a medium-sized lemon averaging around only seventeen calories, making their big, unforgettable flavor completely guilt-free! As a member of the citrus family, it is understandable that lemons are high in Vitamin C. In fact, lemons are so high in Vitamin C that they are often used to treat scurvy, which is caused by a Vitamin C deficiency.
They are not used only to fight scurvy though. Because of their high Vitamin C content, they are helpful in fighting off a cold or the flu. They can help kick that bit of lingering illness while also flushing your system of toxins, especially in your liver. Furthermore, lemons may boost your skin’s health, prevent cancer, and lower your risk of stroke.
Helpful in the Kitchen
Beyond their health benefits, lemons are versatile in the kitchen. In fact, they are a key ingredient in many cleaning products and can be used creatively in the upkeep of your kitchen.
Why are they so good for cleaning? Being that they are so acidic (where their sour taste comes from), they can be a powerful force in helping to eliminate stubborn stains, clear the air of bad odors, and fill the room with the zesty scent of fresh lemon.
There are endless ways to incorporate lemon into your cleaning routine, and we will list a few of them here for you! Use them to:
- Clean wooden cutting boards
- Polish copper
- Clean the garbage disposal
- Shine metal (faucets, silverware, pans, etc.)
- Add to dishwasher detergent
- Clean a grater
And these are just the beginning! (Make sure and check out our Pinterest board for more ideas on how to use lemons.)
Cooking with Lemons
We’ve come to the pinnacle of lemons: how they are used in cooking.
You see them everywhere. In fact, it’s almost overwhelming how often you see lemons in cookbooks. If you don’t see them on the ingredients list, you can easily add a hint of lemon to almost any existing recipe with scrumptious results. This is why we love them so much! As a fruit, with their versatility, even a mere teaspoon of lemon juice can make a huge difference.
When adding lemon to a dish, the flavor of the ingredients already present gains a complexity, depth, and freshness that was not there previously. With lemon, flavors are heightened. Lemon doesn’t steal the show but, rather, adds to it! For example: cook yourself some chicken, and you have a relatively plain dish. Add some lemon to it though, and you have yourself a meal that is fresh and exciting.
Love lemons as much as we do? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and check our “Citrus Recipes” board on Pinterest for more ideas for cooking with your lemons. And, if you just can’t wait, See the recipe below for a summery, lemon dish to make this weekend:
- 2 chicken breast cutlets
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 Tbs butter
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- ¾ cup chicken stock
- 1 Tbs cooking sherry
- 3-4 medium-sized zucchini – made into zoodles
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 Tbs of capers
- 1 large ziplock bag
- Add flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper to a plastic bag, seal and shake. Add in chicken cutlets and seal. Shake until chicken has a nice thin coat of flour mixture, remove cutlets and set aside.
- On the stove top, heat butter and olive oil in a pan on medium heat until slightly melted. Place chicken in pan coating each cutlet with butter mixture and cook until each side is lightly browned. Add in chicken stock, cooking sherry, and lemon juice.
- Simmer chicken until sauce thickens slightly and chicken reaches at least 165F. Remove chicken from pan and set aside, quickly toss zucchini noodles in the pan for 1-2 minutes with sauce.
- Portion out zoodles on a plate, top with chicken, and pour remaining pan juices over chicken. Serve with sliced lemons and capers. Serves 2.