What can you do with a lemon?

The Man We Call Dad loves lemonade. But, he doesn’t like just any old lemonade, no sirree! He likes lemonade made fresh from honest-to-goodness lemons, squeezed right in front of him.  Every summer, we like to go to various fairs and festivals, and without fail, The Man We Call Dad will make a beeline for the funny yellow lemon-shaped trailers serve honest-to-goodness fresh-squeezed-right-in-front-of-you lemonade.

It’s delicious.

The other day, The Man We Call Dad came home with an entire bag full of lemons. He plopped them on the counter with a huge smile and me, silly old me who had failed to realize that the summer solstice is really meant to mark the start of lemonade season, said “What are those for?”

Needless to say, within the hour, we had a great big glass pitcher full of fresh-squeezed lemonade sitting on the counter where the lemons used to be.

It was delicious.

It was my favourite glass pitcher, too. It looks just like the ones in the old Kool-Aid commercials, with a big bulbous belly and a sexy curvacious upper lip that lets the contents pour oh-so-sweetly into your glass. I love that pitcher.

The counter, on the other hand, I was not so much in love with. After squeezing several lemons by hand into the pitcher, the counter was sticky with lemon juice drips and sugar spills and the rinds from several lemons. The Man We Call Dad went to throw the rinds in the compost, but I stopped him. I had better things to do with lemon rinds than composting them!

Ever since our darling B broke out in the most horrendous 4-month-long painfully itchy rash attributed to soaps and perfumes and other environmental contaminants, I’ve been very picky about what we put on our bodies in terms of soaps and lotions and such. As the years have gone on, I’ve found some fabulous sources for some things, some less-than-perfect-but-still-workable sources for other things, and have completely changed my outlook on the need for chemical lotions and potions and cleaners. Recently, I’ve started experimenting with making my own versions of everyday cleaning products, and to my absolute amazement, I’ve found it to be spectacularly easy.

Enter the lemons.

After enjoying a delicious glass or three of fresh lemonade, I packed the lemon rinds into a large jar and then filled the jar to the top with vinegar. After 2 weeks sitting on the counter, the vinegar smelled rather strongly of lemons and looked rather like a jar of vinegar with bits of lemon rind in it.

I poured about a third of the vinegar into a recycled spray bottle labeled glass cleaner and topped it up with cooled boiled water (in about a 1:4 ratio). I poured the another third into a spray bottle labeled All Purpose cleaner and added a generous squirt or three of Doc Bronner’s castile soap and some cooled boiled water (about 1/2 cup vinegar, 3 Tbsp soap, and 2 cups water). The final third, I mixed a 1:1:2 ratio of vinegar, soap, and water with a few drops of essential oil and called it dish soap. The dish soap went into a recycled Method dish soap bottle, because I love how easy it is to use the pump mechanism on those bottles and I had an empty one from a failed attempt to replace our hard-to-find-around-here Nature Clean dish soap with Method soap – B reacts to something in the Method dish soap.

Last week, we made fresh lemonade again. It was delicious. And yes, I now have more lemons sitting in vinegar under my sink, waiting patiently to become dish soap and other things.

For the record, nothing cleans a microwave better than a dish of lemon vinegar microwaved on high for 2 minutes then let to sit and steam the microwave for a bit before you use the rest of it to wipe the microwave clean. It smells nice afterwards, too.



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