bowl of lemons

Ah, the lovely lemon! Nothing screams summer like this bright yellow fruit. Bursting with citrus flavor and a fresh aroma, tart and tangy lemons are pretty and perfect for cooking, drinking and a whole lot more. Incorporate lemon into your life and get in the mood for sunshine and blue skies!

1. Lighten your locks. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into a spray bottle, and fill it the rest of the way up with water. The next time you are at the pool, beach or out in the sun, spritz your hair to accelerate the sun’s natural bleaching effects. Any sort of lightening is tough on your hair, so be sure to follow with a good conditioner.

2. Turn your water into super-water. Keep sliced lemons in the fridge to toss into your glass or bottle of water whenever you fill it up. The boost of vitamin C will help your immune system stay in tip-top shape.

3. Sniff for a lift. Need an instant energizer? Keep a lemon on your desk and when you need a pick-me-up, push a fingernail lightly into the rind and take a deep whiff. The aroma of lemon is an anti-depressant and will perk you up. Want a real eye-opener? Bite into half a lemon. Heck, just thinking about biting into half a lemon will kick your senses up a notch.

4. Make someone’s day. On a hot summer day, squeeze the juice of eight lemons into a gallon jar, and add ¾ cup of sugar (or equivalent alternative sweetener). Stir well, add 2 cups of ice and fill with water to make a glistening jug of fresh lemonade. Here’s the best part: Bring the gallon of golden refreshment to a group of people working outside, and don’t forget the cups. Come back later to pick up the empty jar so you can do it again another time!

5. Top off your fish! Many types of fish such as Alaskan wild salmon and farmed rainbow trout are just perfect with a little salt, pepper and citrus. Cut a lemon into thin wheels and top off your fillet after seasoning it with salt and pepper. Place in a pan coated in non-stick spray and bake at 450 degrees for 8-12 minutes. Simply wonderful.

6. Tame tough elbows. Are your elbows ashy and dry, with dark spots from built-up stains and dead skin? Chop a lemon in half, and rest an elbow in each side for ten minutes. Your elbows will be good as new.

7. Perk up your table. Brighten up your eating environment by filling a large glass container like a vase with fresh, ripe lemons. Buy them at the farmers market to find lemons with their pretty green leaves still attached. This happy decoration makes a fun party centerpiece for birthdays, Father’s Day or any summer occasion.

8. Make a lemon margarita! Get your cocktail shaker out and add: Ice, 1 ½ ounce good tequila (like 1800 Reposado), ½ ounce Triple Sec or other orange liqueur and the juice of one lemon. Shake lightly and then strain into an ice-filled, salt-rimmed glass! Slip into the sunshine, sip and enjoy.

9. Heal your system. A simple mug full of hot water, lemon juice and honey is a soothing home remedy for coughs and sore throats that has been used for centuries. Lemon has antiviral and antiseptic qualities, lowers blood pressure and can even help with indigestion.

image: Jill Clardy