Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tip Tuesday

We’ve all heard the old saying, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade”. That’s a pretty interesting statement, and one that could make life more pleasant for everyone. I’m not saying we should all be like Pollyana, but a positive attitude can make life and its minor problems more bearable.

Today we’ll talk a bit about lemons and some of their many uses. It is believed that lemons originated centuries ago in Asia (China, Burma and India), then were introduced to Europe and the Middle East. Christopher Columbus brought lemon seeds to the Americas in 1493.

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Here are a few uses for these tart fruits, as well as a couple of simple recipes:

1) Squeeze lemon juice on cut surfaces of apples, pears, avocado, etc. to retard browning.

2) Sanitize cutting boards by rubbing with cut lemon. Let set a few minutes, then wash and dry.

3) Throw lemon and orange peels into the garbage disposal about once a month. Run them through to freshen and sanitize the disposal.

4) Rub juice on hands to remove the odor after cutting onions.

5) If your recipe calls for vinegar and you have none in the pantry substitute lemon juice.

6) Add a spoonful of lemon juice when cooking rice to prevent sticking. Let rice cool a bit, then fluff with a fork.

7) Keep that chrome polished – simply rub with lemon rind, rinse and dry. Also, mix a bit of lemon juice and salt to make a paste then rub on metal surfaces to make them shine.

8) Add 1/2 cup juice to laundry to help brighten whites.

9) There are a couple of ways to get more juice out of lemons. One is to microwave the lemon for 15-20 seconds. The other is to roll the lemon on the counter – no need to be too gentle with this method!

10) Lemons make a pretty centerpiece. Put them in a glass bowl, vase or stemmed dish. Add greens for contrast.

11) I always put a cut-up lemon in the cavity of whole chickens or turkeys before roasting. It helps tenderize the meat, and gives a nice flavor.

12) Freeze lemon juice in ice cube trays to use in tea or water – or thaw cubes for cooking.

13) For a sore throat, drink a cup of warm lemonade. I remember doing this when I was growing up, and can still taste that delicious, soothing drink! It also works as an expectorant.

There are many more uses for lemons from ant/bug repellent to hair rinse and skin care. One of everyone's favorites, though, is in food. Here are a couple of quick recipes:

LEMON CURD
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup butter, softened
Combine eggs, lemon rind and sugar in saucepan on medium-low heat. Stir with whisk until sugar dissolves (2 or 3 minutes). Add lemon juice and butter and continue to cook, whisking constantly, for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Cool. Keep in covered container in refrigerator up to a week.
This flavorful, creamy mixture is very versatile, and can be used in many ways from a topping  on gingerbread or pound cake to a filling for cakes. Or as a dip for cookies. Or just out of the jar with a spoon…
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker Country Favorites.
SUGAR-FREE LEMONADE 
1 cup sugar substitute
1 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup lime juice
2 quarts water
Mix sugar substitute into juices until dissolved. Add water. Serve over ice. (Bottled juices work fine for this.)
Recipe from http://www.food.com and submitted by a cook in Bethany, OK.
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Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!

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