When life gives you lemons – be grateful!

When I woke up this morning my apartment smelled like a Pledge commercial.

When I woke up this morning my apartment smelled like a citrus grove.


Years ago, my husband planted two Meyers lemon trees, out of nothing more than hope. He wanted a nice green hedgerow along our house, and he likes fresh citrus. Knowing nothing about growing citrus, he stuck them in the ground. Voila! That’s French for, “what the hell am I going to do with all these dam-ned lemons!”

You know how I get – there’s days when I want to bag them up and take them to city council meetings, hand them out to the crowd and say, “Go for it, Comrades!” Wow, what a tragic waste – I’d be better off juicing them and pouring that down the sink with a tablespoon of baking soda – makes the whole apartment smell Wunderbar!

That’s German for “covers dog and foot odor”

But there are, oh, so many uses for lemons, here’s a few.

My friend who works at Cal Water asks for a couple of bags a year - he and his family keep a little plate of cut-up lemon next to their water dispenser - a couple of slices in a glass of water get rid of that chlorine taste!

My friend who works at Cal Water keeps a little plate of cut-up lemon next to his water dispenser – a couple of slices in a glass of water get rid of that chlorine taste!

Right off the top we use them in water and tea, gives it the nicest hint of lemon, and I believe it’s good for your gums. 

Make tea – squeeze a lemon into a cup and add hot water and honey to your taste. 

Citrus comes ripe at exactly the right time – flu and cold season. Smash a clove of garlic and add it to your hot lemon tea – sip it hot, it opens up your sinuses and calms your throat. 

I have not made a lemon meringue pie yet this year, but my son got me a new cake mixer with a dough hook, I can’t wait to try it. My friend and close companion, Arthur Itis, has made it clear he does not care for kneading dough, but sometimes he gets so excited about the prospect of a pie he’ll do it anyway. 

My friend Jane likes to have lemon juice on her fish dishes, avocados, salads, and in sauces, so, like me, she squeezes lemons now and freezes the juice for later. I get pint containers at Cash and Carry, and re-use them again and again for both lemon juice and tomato sauce – they stack perfectly in the freezer. 

I know, if you have a lemon tree, you have too many lemons. A lady around the corner puts hers out in a basket on her lawn with a FREE sign.  I don’t give that many away – only to those who ask, cause I don’t like to abandon fruit on people’s doorsteps. I’ll tell you the  truth – I start bagging them in late November and I huck  them into my garbage bins. For every bag I use, I probably throw two away. I quit feeling guilt years ago – it’s bad for the tree and makes an instant ecosystem for pests if you don’t clean up your trees. 

I’ll never forget the year I called a local shelter to ask if they wanted some – “no offense, but we’ve got too many lemons, please, no more…”  Yeah, they pile up on you, just use them as fast as you can and be grateful.

We have to get the lemons dealt with – for some reason, we have a bumper crop of Navel oranges this year too. Not as many as the lemons – I think we will be able to eat, use or give away all our oranges. They are incredibly sweet, either to eat or juice. They should be coming along in late December or early January – they look good now, we’re always tempted to pick one, but until they are completely orange and “give a little” to a squeeze, they are watery and disappointing. Right now they have faint green swirls on the skins and are hard as a rock.

I love to give those for Christmas – I’ve actually met people who have never seen fruit growing on a tree, they are fascinated with the fact that you can grow food in your yard…








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