Lemons, How to Keep ‘Em Fresh Longer and Some Good Uses

I use a LOT of lemons. One a day every day in my green smoothies, and then others in various recipes throughout the week. And then there’s the hot lemon water during the winter months to boost my metabolism and warm me up.

I tend to lose a few, too. And don’t we all know…a withered lemon is not only quite sad to behold, but pretty much useless. So imagine my delight when I happened upon this hot tip for keeping citrus fresher, for longer.

Like any good idea it’s simple, efficient, and proven to work. I found this suggestion on a favorite site, www.food.com (now Genius Kitchen).

As would make sense, keeping citrus at its peak is all about moisture. So how do you keep that moisture inside the porous fruit before it seeps into the air? To prevent this moisture escape, keep your citrus in an environment with high humidity.

So keeping citrus in a bowl of water in your fridge is the secret. I shared this tip recently, but it’s worth repeating because it works so well. This means of storage, the food.com experts claim, will keep your fruits feeling—and tasting—fresh for up to three months.

But this isn’t the only citrus-preserving recommendation the internet has up its sleeve, however. Other resources suggest refrigerating your citrus in tightly sealed Ziploc bags. This creates a small scale humid environment and prevents that lemon from losing too much liquid.

And then there’s the 100% cotton produce bag to turn to. Just moisten it (wring it out well) and place your lemons or oranges inside, then refrigerate. Large bags will hold approximately a dozen large oranges or 14 lemons.

Now that you know how to keep your lemons fresh and juicy longer, let’s talk about some things we can do with them besides smoothies and lemon water. For starters, how about pudding?

We always hear about vanilla and chocolate pudding, but lemon pudding is tops. It is delicious with whipped cream swirled into it, atop a bowl of vanilla ice cream, or spooned over pound cake. At our house we make a favorite dessert with it by alternating layers of shortbread cookies (Lorna Doone, for example), pudding, and sweetened whipped cream in a 9x13-inch baking dish. This no-bake, refrigerate-only dessert is always a winner. You can garnish it with lemon zest or cookie crumbs.


2⁄3 cup sugar

1 cup water

5 teaspoons cornstarch

1⁄4 cup lemon juice

1⁄4 teaspoon lemon extract

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

3 egg yolks

1/3 cup cream, half ‘n half, or whole milk

On med-hi heat, bring sugar and water to a boil.

Mix cornstarch, lemon juice and lemon extract.

Stir into boiling mixture.

Add cream and continue stirring.

Beat the egg yolks and stir about 1/4 cup of the hot mixture into them.

Quickly stir this into the hot mix. Cook 2 minutes more.

Spoon into dessert cups.


If you prefer you can put the mix into a baked pie shell, and cover with meringue.

Now let’s look at a couple other uses for lemon. Besides eating lemon in various recipes, lemon makes a good grooming aid as well:

Did you know lemon juice makes an excellent fingernail brightener? Nails looking dull and yellowed after a long period covered in dark polish? Just squeeze a lemon into a small dish, clean your nails and soak them in the lemon juice for a minute or two. Some women claim that this treatment will also make nails stronger, particularly when adding a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the dish.

And we all know we can cut nasty odors in the garbage disposal by grinding up a bit of lemon. But did you know lemon can also cut body odor? It’s a superb emergency deodorant! When you run out of deodorant, just cut a lemon in half (or snag a wedge from your drinking glass) and rub it under your arms. The citric acid in lemon juice will kill odor-causing bacteria. In fact, you could use this trick to ditch conventional deodorants altogether.

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  •   www.potluck.ohmveggies.com
  •   www.instructables.com
  •   www.popsugar.com
  •   www.organiccottonmart.com
  •   www.happyhooligans.ca
  •   www.thegalleygourmet.com

    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
    Email the author! alice@dvo.com

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