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If Life Hands You Lemons, Rejoice!

By Mark Mulcahy

“Life handed me lemons, so I made lemonade, lemon cake, lemon drops, and I even used the rinds to make lemon art. So, the joke is on you, life, ha ha!”
Emilyann Allen

Like the author Emilyann Allen exclaims, lemons are not the symbol of bad luck everyone says they are. They are actually quite the opposite as observed throughout history. It’s all in what you do with them. The Mongolians made lemonade with this native fruit of Asia around 1299. They were so prized by the crusaders that they brought them back to Europe. Columbus may have thought they would make for good trading with the new world locals as he is credited with bringing them here on his second trip. Wild groves of lemons were a common sight in Florida until they were wiped out in 1894 by a heavy freeze. California started planting them to supply fruit for the gold miners and is still the leading U.S. lemon-producing state. Perhaps we should make it the state fruit!

Lemons are used for everything these days especially when it comes to healthy living because they are so good for you. Lemon juice contains high levels of potassium and vitamin C. A strong antioxidant, lemon juice is also a mild diuretic, so adding lemons to your drinking water can help support your liver and kidneys in their natural job of flushing out toxins. As a matter of fact, I make up a mixture of lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and fresh ginger to drink before and after my daily swim. Just combine 3-4 tablespoons fresh Melissa’s organic lemon juice, 1-tablespoon Melissa’s fresh ginger juice, a heaping spoonful of fresh local honey, and a generous pinch of cayenne. And viola you’ve got something that is great for you and tastes pretty good too. It can also be used when you have a cold, just switch the cold water for hot water and feel the cold melt away.

To get the most juice from your Melissa’s organic lemons, put them on the counter at room temp then roll them before you give ‘em a squeeze. This will produce the maximum amount of juice. When choosing Melissa’s organic lemons think about when you will use them. If you need them around for a long time choose them a little harder. If you want to use them in the next few days, choose ones that have a bright yellow color, are heavy for their size and have just a little give when gently squeezed in the palm of your hand.

Once you’ve got them home here’s a couple of cooking tips that may come in handy:

  • Add a squeeze of lemon to your water when cooking pasta and it will help to prevent the stickiness when the pasta is finished cooking.
  • A little lemon juice will also make your cooked potatoes or cauliflower a little whiter as well.
  • If you like to cook fish, onions or garlic and want to remove the smell from your fingers try rubbing a little lemon juice on them.
See how versatile they are! So, when life hands you lemons, enjoy the heck out of them!

If you find yourself wanting a glass of lemonade, I won’t leave you hanging. Try this recipe I adapted from The Prairie Homestead.

You’ll need

1 cup freshly squeezed Melissa’s organic lemon juice (about 5 or 6 lemons cut in half)
1/2 cup organic or local honey
5 cups cold filtered water
Lemon or lime slices to garnish (while it won’t make it taste better it sure makes it feel special on a random weekday afternoon.)

Easy instructions

When using fresh lemons, be sure to wash them well so any dirt/residue doesn’t end up in your juice.

A juicer makes it easier. But you can also squeeze them by hand using the tip I mentioned earlier.

Mix the lemon juice and honey together in the pitcher until thoroughly combined.

Add the cold water and briskly stir.

Chill and serve over ice.
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