When Life Throws you Lemons……………….. By Antoinette The history of the lemon is deep and rich. No one really knows the true origins of the lemon; most scholars agree it is probably from Northern India. The lemon travel to Italy around 200 AD - lemons in Rome were as rich as they were expensive. Lemons were then cultivated in Iraq & Egypt around 700 AD, the Mediterranean around 1000 AD until finally the US on the Mayflower. There are many varieties of lemon trees. The typical back yard lemon tree is thorny and evergreen with narrow, oval light green leaves this tree will grow up to 20 feet tall. If left to ripen on trees, lemons can get a bit sweet. Picking them green makes them a little more sour. Unlike other citrus fruits, Lemons will ripen after being picked and become fully yellow in storage – just as bananas do. The trees are more scraggly than orange trees, and their purple tinged flowers aren't as fragrant. The trees will start producing fruit after their third year, and enough to be commercially viable after their fifth year. Each tree will produce about 1,500 Lemons a year. They will flower almost continuously, and will have fruit at all stages during the year - the harvest is typically in the fall. Smooth-skinned lemons have more juice than rougher skinned ones. As they get older, they lose some of their juice, which makes the skin rougher. Smaller Lemons are often proportionately having more juice than larger ones. When buying lemons, choose ones that are heavy for their size, shiny and lemon yellow. Don't worry about small amounts of brown scarring on a lemon's skin: as things get more and more organic, you're going to see more of it, but it doesn't affect the juice. Lemons are a fruit that you don't eat per se: we use them for their juice and their rind. As a reminder to us all I have compiled a broad list of different uses for this season’s lemon. A word of caution when drinking lemon juice. Lemon juice has the ability to eat the enamel of your teeth. Daily doses of pure lemon juice are NOT recommended. Prolonged daily use can reduce your teeth to the level of your gums. Got your attention right!!!. Always about ¼ of a lemon with a glass of water – no more than that is necessary for internal use. Cooking When you have half a Lemon or lime left over, cut it into slices and freeze, then use as ice cubes in drinks, or to cook alongside fish, or to stuff inside a chicken. Stop potatoes or cauliflower from discoloring while cooking by placing 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in the water while cooking. Stop apples or guacamole from discoloring when preparing fruit salads by sprinkling lemon juice on them. By adding a teaspoon of lemon juice to rice while cooking you can prevent your rice from sticking. Some of my favorite recipes come out of my own backyard. If you have lemons cook with them or made dressings and sauces with them. Cleaning Remove tough food stains from your cutting board by rubbing with lemon juice and baking soda. This will also kill germs and freshen. Clean and deodorize your microwave by placing 4 tablespoons of lemon juice in 1 cup of water. Place in microwaveable bowl and boil for 5 minutes. The condensation from the boiled mixture will enable the microwave to be wiped out easily, and will deodorize the oven. A paste of salt and lemon juice will clean and shine your sink while killing germs. Toss lemon rinds into the fireplace to freshen stale smells. Toss lemon rinds into simmering water along with cloves, cinnamon sticks, and orange peels to make a delightful aroma and humidify the air. Polish chrome faucets with a paste of baking soda and lemon juice. A few tablespoons added to the water in a humidifier will deodorize the air in the home. Cut a lemon in half and place in dishes for air fresheners. Place a sponge or cotton ball dabbed with lemon juice in your fridge for several hours to displace foul odors. Lemon or orange peels tossed regularly into the garbage disposal will keep the garbage disposal smelling fresh. Make a paste of lemon juice and baking soda. Rub the solution on your aluminum pans, then buff and watch them shine. Add two lemons to all mop water – I always just throw the whole thing in after squeezing. Ant-proof the kitchen with lemon juice. Squirt lemon juice on thresholds and window sills. Squeeze lemon juice into any holes or cracks that the ants are entering. Scatter small slices of lemon peel around door entrances. Ants do not like the lemon fragrance and will not enter your home. Lemons are also effective against roaches and fleas. Reader's Digest suggests a mixture of ½ gallon (2 liters) of water and the juice and rinds of four lemons. Wash the kitchen floor and the counters with this mixture and watch the insects leave. Laundry Pour lemon juice directly on ink spots and wash garments in cold water. A mild alternative to bleach can be found in lemon juice. Soak garments in a mixture of baking soda and lemon juice for ½ hour prior to washing. Lemon juice is much safer for whitening delicates than bleach is. Used with white vinegar, lemon juice is effective in removing underarm stains from shirts, and blouses. Use 1 cup of lemon juice in washer with whites to help remove rust stains, and whiten whites. Work a paste of salt and lemon juice into mildew stains and allow garment to dry. Repeat process until the stain is gone. Beauty If you have a lemon tree in your backyard pick the flowers during the bloom and sprinkle about a cup of them in a hot bath – very stimulating to the system. Lemon juice has been used for years to lighten age spots and freckles, and it has an added bonus of helping to clear black heads and acne. If you follow it up with a ½ of orange rubbed on your face once a week you will get all the vitamin c your body needs (short of your regular diet) Wash the face nightly with lemon juice and rinse with cool water in the morning. Create blond highlights by spraying the hair with lemon juice and sitting under the sun. Lemon juice added to shampoo aids with the removal of dandruff. Add two tablespoons of lemon juice to two cups of water to rinse hair after shampooing. Repeat process every other day until there are no signs of dandruff. .Dry and achy hands and feet can be relieved with a mixture of lemon juice and sesame/olive oil used as a massage. The skin will feel softer too. Anyone who frequently polishes their nails knows that polish can create yellowing. Soak nails in lemon juice for ten minutes then dip in a mixture of warm water and vinegar. Not only with this help to whiten nails, but it also aids in strengthening them. Lemon juice provides for antibacterial treatment in minor wounds and aids in stopping the bleeding. Poured directly on poison ivy rash, lemon juice relieves the itch and discomfort. There are several different cough and sore throat remedies which include lemon juice. Lemon juice can also be used to kill the bacteria that cause bad breath. A few drops of lemon juice added to a glass of warm water drank before breakfast will aid with constipation. Remove the foul odor of fish or the stain of berries from your hands by washing them first in lemon juice and then with soap and water. Lighten, smooth, and soften elbows with lemon juice. Remove warts by applying lemon juice to the site daily until the wart falls off.