Posts Tagged ‘lemons’

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Frozen Lemons

June 7, 2016

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Summer is here, and now more than ever, it is important to hydrate. Ice cold water is not only refreshing, it is also more palatable than drinking it room temperature. A squirt of lemon adds a little flavor, as well as a jolt of vitamin C and potassium. Drinking lemon water is also reputed to boost our immune systems, aid digestion, and reduce inflammation. Freezing lemon slices can eliminate the need for ice cubes, and offer an infusion of taste and health benefits at the same time.

How to freeze lemon slices:

Scrub the lemons of any residue, and rinse them well. You can use a brush, a citrus based produce wash, or a mixture of white vinegar and water to get them clean. It is best to use organic lemons for this purpose, to cut down on pesticides. Wipe them dry.

Slice the lemons into 3/8″ thick slices, and cut them in half if desired. Freeze them on a parchment covered sheet pan until frozen through, and then transfer them to a zip lock freezer bag to store.

Grab a few to chill and flavor your water or iced tea, and enjoy!

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Make Your Own Flavored Water

September 9, 2014

Cucumber and lime-flavored water

I don’t know about you, but downing at least 64 ounces of water per day is tough.  Companies have come up with low or no calorie drops that you can add to your water to give it a more flavor,and more chemicals and artificial ingredients to boot. Vitamin Water lists 20 ingredients, mostly unpronounceable, on the label of their water enhancers and popular brand Mio is right behind them. Don’t get drawn in by the occasional vitamin listed on the label. The artificial sweeteners, and other additives far outweigh the benefits of a little bit of vitamin B.

While enhancing the taste of your water might help you drink more, doing so naturally is the best bet.

You can make your own naturally flavored water by adding fresh fruit and herbs to a pitcher of water and letting it steep in the refrigerator overnight.
You can also freeze pieces of fruit and water in ice cube trays to provide a flavor boost while keeping your water chilled.

Be sure to carefully scrub all of the fruit before using to avoid adding any impurities to the water.

Citrus fruits, such as lemon, lime, grapefruit or orange add vitamin C and a lot of taste to your drink.

Try adding less obvious choices, such as cucumber, strawberries, mint leaves or grated ginger. Many of these are known to reduce bloating and help digestion.

Create your own combinations to suit your palate. How about cucumber, mint and lemon or lime?
Orange and ginger? Grapefruit and basil? Give it a try and share your favorites in the comments below.

Drink up!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Lemon Aid

January 30, 2014

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Tossing a lemon into your drink is tasty and healthy, right? Well, that depends.

In a recent study by the Journal of Environmental Health, the rinds of 76 lemons collected from a variety of restaurants were swabbed for bacteria. A startling 70% of them contained microbial growth. The data was collected as soon as the drinks were served, before they were touched by the person consuming them.
The exact source of the bacteria is unknown, but it is thought that the source could be from the employee who handled them, or cross contamination from poultry or meat.

Similar experiments conducted by the New York University Medical Center and commissioned by ABC News  turned up even more bad news: over half of the lemons they tested were contaminated by human fecal matter. The cause: lemons are often handled with the bartender’s bare hands. While many establishments rinse the lemons before cutting them, many do not actually scrub them.
Among the specimens collected were E. coli, staphylococcus epidermidis and candida, a fungus commonly found in the vagina. While they didn’t test specifically for viruses, such as norovirus or the cold virus, this type of contamination is typically an indicator that they are present.

Similar microbes have been discovered on communal items in restaurants such as salt and pepper shakers, menus and ketchup bottles.

Now that you are completely grossed out, it’s important to note that a strong immune system may help prevent people from getting sick.

Squeezing the lemon into the glass and not dropping the whole piece in, helps to a certain extent. At home, scrub the lemon with a brush, and avoid cross contamination with other foods.

After handling shared items in restaurants, wash your hands before touching your food.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week: Fresh Lemonade

July 1, 2013

It’s officially summer, and that means lemonade season. Fresh, homemade lemonade is delicious, and adding just a little bit to a glass of water, or iced tea is a great way to get extra flavor without a lot of added calories, or the dreaded high fructose corn syrup present in many store bought brands.

It’s easy to make and well worth the trouble.

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Fresh Lemonade:

Make simple syrup by combining 1 cup of water and 1-½ cups of sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to allow sugar to dissolve. Set aside to cool.

Squeeze the juice of about 8 lemons. This should yield you about 1-½ cups of juice.

In a large pitcher, mix the lemon juice, about 6 cups of cold water, and the simple syrup. Taste the mixture as you go. You may not need all the syrup if you like your lemonade on the tart side. You may wish to add more water, if it tastes too strong.

Add ice cubes to the pitcher, and enjoy!

Personalize it:

You can add fresh raspberries, blueberries or strawberries to give the lemonade a flavorful twist.  If you want to get fancy, freeze the berries with water to make festive, fruity ice cubes. Garnish with fresh mint leaves, or lemon slices for added zest.

photo: Glasshouse Images 

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When Life Gives You Lemons

August 24, 2012

When life gives you lemons, there are lots of unusual ways to utilize them!
Lemons, like many other items found in your pantry have a plethora of unexpected uses.

Clean cutting boards:

The acid in lemon makes it an effective cleaner. Squeeze lemon juice on a stained plastic or wood cutting board, and scrub it with the lemon half. Let it soak in for 20 minutes, and rinse it with water. The cutting board will be disinfected, and the stains will be lighter, without introducing harsh chemicals that can seep into your food.

 

Revitalize Dry Brittle Fingernails:

Soak (nail polish free) fingertips in pure lemon juice for a couple of minutes and rinse well, before applying hand lotion. The lemon will lighten discolored nails making your hands look clean and fresh!

 

Soften Brown Sugar:

Adding a long strip of lemon peel to the bag of brown sugar will keep it moist and prevent it from hardening into an unusable lump.

 

Bathroom Cleaner:

A mixture of lemon juice and cream of tartar creates a natural version of “Soft Scrub.” The lemon is a great bleaching agent, and cream of tartar acts as a stabilizer.

Do you have any favorite uses for lemons?

photo: Glasshouse Images

 


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