By Larraine Roulston:
Add a little zest to your life with lemon peels! A stainless steel lemon zester is a very handy tool to use. Lemons are commonly purchased for baking loaves, making lemonade or garnishing beverages. By keeping them in the freezer and grating when needed, or grating before using the juice, the nutritional rind can be added to smoothies, and sprinkled onto vegetables, salads, pasta or desserts. I expect, however, most of us have never imagined any other ways we
could utilize the lemon peel. Here are a few ideas:
To dry citrus peelings for creating potpourri and later grate for recipes, first use a sharp knife to trim off the pith (the white part). Set the strips in a warm, dark place to dry for a couple of
days, then seal them in a container.
To introduce a lemon flavor while roasting vegetables, include a few lemon peels. They also can be stuffed into the cavity of a baking chicken.
Season dinners with a flavored salt. First, finely grate a lemon and set the rind on a dish to dry overnight. Mix it with an equal amount of sea salt for the final product.
For an olive oil lemon flavor, add 2-3 tablespoons of finely grated lemon rind to one cup of extra virgin olive oil. Place in a jar and let stand for two weeks. Occasionally give it a shake. Strain out and compost the rind. Voila! you now have a perfect salad oil topping.
Make candied peels by removing the pith, then simmering in water for approximately 25 minutes. Drain. Boil 1/2 cup of water, and measure 1/4 cup of sugar to dissolve. Add the peels and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove peels and allow them to dry.
Citrus peelings contain a compound that breaks down oil and grease. By submerging them in white vinegar for at least two weeks, then straining the liquid, the fresh aromatic solution will make an ideal household cleaner. Polish chrome and stainless steel by sprinkling sea
salt over the metal surface, and scrubbing with a lemon peel to restore the shine. Coffee stains in a mug should disappear when filled with a little water, then adding a lemon peel and allowing it to sit for a few hours. Pour out and scrub.
Toss a few lemon peels into your kitchen garbage can to deodorize it and help to keep your cooking area smelling fresh.
Lemon peels contain a high amount of calcium and vitamin C to help maintain and improve the well-being of bones that can result in the prevention of osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. With their polyphenol flavonoids, they are helpful in decreasing cholesterol levels. The potassium in lemon peels helps regulate blood pressure. As well, they are known to eradicate toxins in the liver and other parts of the body; improve blood circulation; help fight cancer; prevent heart disease, strokes, and diabetes; maintain oral health and hygiene; fight skin related conditions; and reduce muscle contractions.
Purchase organic lemons whenever possible. When peelings are ready to compost, avoid placing them in a vermicomposter (worm bin). They are, however, welcome in a backyard composter or into your green bin.
Larraine writes children’s books on composting and pollinating at www.castlecompost.com