I love lemons. They are bright, refreshing, and smell divine. I’ve gotten in the habit of squeezing fresh lemon juice in a glass of water to help wake me up (and help my digestive system) first thing in the morning. When I first started, I’m ashamed to admit that I would usually just throw the lemon peel away (or toss it in the garbage disposal). But when my lemon habit really took off I started storing the peels. I’ve collected a lot, actually.
31 Amazing Uses for Lemon Peels
Thanks to the internet, experimenting, and other tidbits along the way I’ve also collected a lot of things you can do with those lemon peels. In this article, I will take you through all the uses for this common food “waste” that you might not have thought of. I have even broken down this list into three categories – culinary uses, cleaning uses, and personal care uses.
Hopefully this article will inspire you to incorporate lemon peels into a variety of things in your regular routine. They are all natural and quite cheap.So without further ado, here are 31 uses for lemon peels.
Uses for Lemon Peels: Culinary
Did you know that lemon peels are nutritional power houses? Seriously. What you might think of as food waste actually contains a bunch of nutritious properties.
Lemon Peels contain a spectrum of vitamins, minerals and fiber (things like calcium, potassium, and vitamin C) that can give your menu a nutritional boost. And even though you would have to consume large amounts of peel to glean significant nutritional benefits, it doesn’t hurt to throw in some peel when you can.
Remember, organic will be your best best when consuming the peel to avoid eating any pesticides.
So while you can certainly take lemon peels on their own and add them to things such as drinks and baked goods, there are a variety of ways to more fully utilize these peels in your culinary undertakings. Here are some examples:
1. Lemon Zest
Lemon zest is a common ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. Zest some of your peel, use some now or freeze it for later. This gives you some of the health benefits that lemon peels provide, but mostly it is a great way to add some citrus zest flavor to some of your favourite creations. (Check out my favorite tool to get my zest.)
2. Lemon Pepper
One of my favorite seasonings, and easy to make. Check out Lemon Pepper Seasoning by Simply Scratch.
3. Candied Lemon Peel
Um. Yum. What more do I need to say? Candied lemon peels are a delicious treat. I love this Candied Lemon Peel recipe by Luna Cafe.
4. Lemon Sugar
Doesn’t it just sound awesome? I haven’t tried this yet, but it’s definitely on my “to do” list. Check out this Lemon Sugar Recipe by Baking Bites.
5. Lemon Olive Oil
Give your olive oil a yummy makeover for a bright flavor. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started.
6. Lemon Extract
Sometimes I’m amazed at the things I never realized you could make yourself. Like this lemon extract. Lemon and lemon peel extract are great ingredients in all kinds of baked goods, and it has a great appeal simply based on how beautiful it looks.
7. Lemon twists and ice cubes!
Brighten your drinks by putting twists of the peel into ice cubes. Perfect for summer parties. Use a vegetable peeler (like this) or knife to make long strips, cutting away from the white pith which can be quite bitter. All you have to do is freeze these cubes and you have a way to add a citrus splash to your drinks while keeping them cold.
8. Herb-Lemon Zest Butter
Another “what more do I need to say,” right? Get the recipe from bon appetit here. Of course, you can use this butter in a variety of cooking and baking needs, and you’d be surprised by how much butter benefits from a lemon zest.
9. Keep brown sugar soft
Adding some lemon peel (with traces of pulp and pith removed) to your brown sugar can help keep it moist and easy to use. A great choice if you don’t want your brown sugar to get dried out.
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Uses for Lemon Peels: Cleaning
Lemon peel also has a variety of uses around your home for cleaning purposes. Additionally, lemon peel is a natural deodorizer, and carries a refreshing citrus scent.
Once you learn of the powers of citrus for your household needs, you’ll be surprised at all the ways you utilize lemon within your normal routine. Below are just a few examples of the power of lemon peels in your home.
10. Lemon AP Cleaner
Also known as lemon vinegar, this stuff is awesome at cutting grease and disinfecting. To make, simply place a bunch of lemon peels in any sized glass jar (mason jars would work great). Pour white vinegar over. Put the lid on and let it sit for 2 weeks (I promise, it’s worth the wait). Then strain the liquid. Combine this with water (using a 50/50 ratio) and then use as you would your normal all purpose cleaner. You can even put it in a spray bottle for easy application to any tough-to-clean areas.
11. Get rid of ants and pests
Place small slices of lemon peel along thresholds, windowsills, door entrances, or near cracks or holes where ants or pests are lurking about. I haven’t tried this one yet (living on the third floor does have some advantages… no big ant problem where I live), but apparently ants do not like lemon and will not enter your home. Lemons are also effective against roaches and fleas.
12. Freshen your Fridge
Place a lemon peel or two inside your fridge to absorb smells and bring a bright citrus scent. Lemon peel is an effective air freshener and keeps things smelling great.
13. Trash Can Deodorizer
Throw a few lemon peels in the bottom of the trash can. This will also help absorb odors and keep things smelling fresh.
14. Simmering Stove Top Scents
This idea has been floating around pinterest for some time, and with good reason. You’ll make your house smell heavenly simply by adding lemon peels to simmering water. Throw in some cloves, cinnamon sticks, and orange peels. This adds a wonderful scent and humidifies the air.
15. Clean your tea kettle or coffee pot.
To clean mineral deposits in your tea kettle: Fill the kettle with water and add a handful of thin slices of lemon peel. Bring it to a boil then turn off the heat. Let it sit for an hour, drain, and rinse well.
To clean your coffee pot: Simply add your lemon peels with some ice and salt. Whirl everything around a minute or two and the dump and rinse.
16. Sanitize your cutting board.
Lemon’s natural acidity provides great antibacterial properties to home cleaning. After properly cleaning your cutting boards, rub the surface with half a lemon. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing. You don’t want harmful bacteria to grow on your cutting board, so making sure it is cleaned effectively is very important.
17. Freshen and deodorize the dishwasher.
Add lemon peels to your dishwasher every now and then to help rinse and deodorize it.
18. Clean your microwave.
We don’t use our microwave much, but I wish I knew this secret back when I did! Add lemon rinds to a microwave-safe bowl filled halfway with water. Cook on high for five minutes, allowing the water to boil and the steam to condense on the walls and tops of the oven. Remove the hot bowl (carefully!) and wipe away the mess with a towel. Yes, you’ll notice the fresh scent right away.
19. Deodorize the garbage disposal.
Use lemon peels to deodorize the garbage disposal and bring that amazing citrus smell to your kitchen. Fake lemon cleaners have nothing on the real thing. Simply put a peel or two down the disposal, flip the switch on (with the water running), and done.
Bake discarded lemon peels until they darken. These create natural, fragrant firelighters. So cool, and just in time for grilling season!
21. Make drawer sachets.
Dry your lemon peels (either out in the sun or in a dehydrator) and place them inside of fabric sachets. Add spices, as desired such as cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and cardamom. Place the dried citrus mixture in drawers to freshen.
22. Clean your stainless steel, polish your chrome, and make your copper shine!
This one was my favorite as we’ve had some nasty residue on our steak knives that I’ve been trying to get off for a while. Simply sprinkle some sea salt on the metal, and then use the lemon peel to scrub away any dirt, grime, or stains. Rinse and polish! This is one of my most common go-to uses for lemon peels.
Uses for Lemon Peels: Beautiful & Promote A Healthy Body
Another common use for lemon peel is in all sorts of beauty products. The natural acid in the lemon makes it great for not only cleaning products, but for a variety of skin products as well. As a bonus, the natural lemon scent is a great addition to any application.
Once you realize how many of your beauty products can be replaced by a natural citrus alternative, you will be very happy with the amount of money you can save.
23. Skin Brigthening Scrub
This will really perk your skin up. Go here to get the Skin Brightening Scrub recipe from Mommypotamus.
24. Nail Whitener
Whiten fingernails by rubbing them with a lemon wedge. The acidic nature of the wedge is an effective cleaner and will leave your hands with a refreshing citrus scent.
25. Travel Sickness Cure
Suck on a slice of lemon to help you stop feeling nauseous. Some people might not like the taste, but the results might make it worth it.
26. Lighten age spots.
Here’s a fun use for a lemon peel: Many folk remedies suggest using lemon peel to help lighten age spots. Apply a small piece to the affected area and leave on for an hour. (I’d avoid too much sun exposure while it’s on your face.)
27. Soften dry elbows.
Use a half lemon sprinkled with baking soda on elbows; just place your elbow in the lemon and twist the lemon (as if you are juicing it) for several minutes. Rinse and dry.
28. Use as a skin tonic.
Lemon peels can be very lightly rubbed on your face for a nice skin tonic; then rinse (be careful around your eyes).
29. Make a sugar scrub.
Mix 1/2 a cup of sugar with finely chopped lemon peel and enough olive oil to make a paste. Wet your body in the shower, turn off the water, and massage the sugar mix all over your skin. Rinse off and bask in your smooth skin.
30. Make a scented humidifier.
If your home suffers from dry heat in the winter, you can put lemon peels in a pot of water and simmer on the lowest stove-top setting to humidify and scent the air. This is one of my favorite uses for lemon peels… especially during the holidays.
31. Make a foot soak.
Boil citrus rinds for several minutes. Allow to cool completely and strain. Add ¼ cup cow or almond milk, 2 tablespoons of cold pressed olive oil and a couple of drops of lemon essential oil. Soak feet for about 20 minutes and then pat dry to moisturize and soften feet.
As you can see, lemon peels are a truly versatile addition to your routine, in more ways than you might have thought. Not only are they delicious and nutritious, and a great supplement to many recipes, they have unique properties which can make them great for cleaning and for general use around the house. As soon as you start using lemon peelsfor your various tasks, you will surely be inspired and think of even more ways that they can help you.
So don’t hesitate to try out any tips on this list. You can feel good about this choice, because not only are lemons an all-natural alternative, they are inexpensive as well!
What are your favorite uses for lemons and lemon peels?