When Life Hands You Lemons… Literally.


Can you imagine a world where avocados just grew on trees? Where you could walk out to your yard and pick a lemon for your Aviator cocktail. Or, grab a lime to squeeze over your watermelon. It’s a shame places like this don’t exist. Oh, wait… they totally do and one of the places they exist is Southern California. Seeing citrus trees out in the “wild” still surprises me. And although I am not lucky enough to live in a place that has an avocado/orange/lime/lemon tree in the backyard (one day), Jojo is lucky enough to work with a guy who does! I guess when you have a tree full of something the bounty almost becomes an inconvenience. I can’t imagine giving away avocados because you have too many, but I know it happens… cousins of mine in Florida annually send out boxes of avocados when the tree gets into full bloom.

A few weeks ago, Josh and I were lamenting the fact that we had forgotten to get a lemon at the grocery store for Jojo’s favorite green beans. Josh mentioned that a guy he worked with was coming in with bags of lemons from his tree several times a week and could probably get us a few. Cut to Josh coming home with a grocery bag full of lemons. Full.


After the novelty of “having a bag full of lemons” wore off, it dawned on me that  I needed a game plan if I were going to make the most of this. I began researching ‘things to do with lemons’ on the internet, Pinterest, and an awesome helpful hints compendium that Sheila gave me earlier this year. I thought I would share my research with you guys.

There were, of course, the less surprising ways to use lemons:

  • Keeping guacamole green
  • Boosting laundry detergent
  • Polishing/cleaning chrome, tarnished brass, aluminum, marble
  • Deodorizing/refreshing humidifiers, fireplaces, cat boxes, refrigerators,
  • Laundry booster with bleaching, mildew, under-arm pit stain removing powers
  • Not to mention the applications in the health and beauty world (skin/nail/hair lightening, treating dandruff, elbow softener).

But, I wanted to share with you some of the more surprising/my favorite ways to use lemons… (other than for their obvious assets, of course).

  • Refreshing cutting boards- We have one nice cutting board and several cheapy-plastic ones. The plastic ones are forever getting stained or holding on to weird odors. I cut a lemon in half and washed my cutting boards with lemons. Not only did it smell amazing, but it totally “bleached” all the oil stains.
  • Making soggy lettuce crisp- I have never tried this, but apparently submerging soggy lettuce into a bowl of cold water with the juice of half of a lemon and then subsequently drying those leaves will make them crispy again.
  • Garbage disposal deodorizer- my favorite thing to do with used lemons is to throw them down the garbage disposal. Not that I go sniffing around the garbage disposal, but the lemon makes a really nice difference.
  • Wart removal- lemon juice, applied consistently, will remove a wart. Huh! Again, never tried… just interesting.
  • Room spray- I read that you were supposed to brew a cup of tea with three bags of black tea then mix it with lemon juice and water and place it in a spray bottle. I did this… and was disappointed. I wish I had just drunk the tea and lemon (which smelled delicious) because I could never smell it once it was aerated.

I juiced and zested 30 of the lemons and froze that bounty to use later. But, even in the end, I still wound up tossing a quarter of the bag as they were rotting faster than I could use them. But, just in case you ever find yourself with an abundance of lemons, maybe the above will help!

Do you have any lemon secrets? Any tips or thoughts?

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