Lemon Zesters

Lemons are the most amazing fruit. Not only are they good for you, but if you cut one in half and sprinkle salt all over and rub it on your copper pots, they will be all shiny and new.

My grandmother, my father’s mother, was born in 1880 and didn’t die until 1963. Women didn’t live that long in those days and she attributed her good health to the lemon. Every morning of her life she drank a ‘tea’ of boiling water and the juice of a lemon.

I doubt that lemons cost $1.69 each in those days, but even today, they are a health bargain. I usually buy a big bag of lemons at Costco and they are not too expensive that way.

If you put a lemon in the microwave for ten to twenty seconds and then squeeze it you will get more juice. And it is always a good idea to use your zester on a whole lemon before you slice it and squeeze it. You can put the zest in a little baggie and use it later for something. But more on lemon zesting later.

Also you can use the squeezed lemon halves to wipe your microwave on the inside, then run it for ten or twenty seconds with the lemon in it. This cleans your microwave. Wipe with a damp cloth.

I don’t do the boiling water/lemon thing, but I do make lemonade with juice of one lemon, swig of pure maple syrup, water to fill a glass and a generous sprinkle of red cayenne pepper. This drink is very good for you. Sort of a rotor rooter for your system.

The proper way to do this drink is to drink it all during the day whenever you feel hungry. I usually have three or four before dinner. Then a light dinner of fish and salad and it is a nice kick start for a ‘diet’.

When I was younger this lemon, syrup, pepper drink was a several day affair. I have never lasted a week, as the purists do. I don’t think this is a very healthy eating regimen for a 70 year old woman, but a day or so won’t hurt.

Besides being good for your insides and cleaning pots, lemons are also good for your hair. When I was a girl and we wanted to put a light streak in our bangs, we just combed lemon juice through our hair and sat in the sun.

Now this is called highlights. You go to the beauty parlor and it is done with chemicals. It also costs about $60 plus to do this and it isn’t all that good for your hair.

If you just want to get a good rinse after a shampoo, squeeze a lemon into a glass of water and pour this all over your hair. If you don’t have a lemon, you can use vinegar, but it doesn’t smell as good.

If you don’t have lemons or vinegar, you can rinse your hair with beer. If you don’t have beer, I guess you are out of luck.

Back to the wonderful lemon. I am a big fan of lemon zest. First you have to have a zester. This is a kitchen tool with several sharp holes. You run it over the rind and it makes nice lemon rind shreds with no pith. The pith is the white bitter part of the lemon.

This is an essential tool for cooking and baking. I put lemon zest in lemon meringue pie of course, but also in frosting and chocolate chip cookies. Actually orange zest is very good in chocolate chip cookies. But  you need a zester for that as well.

You can put lemon zest in salad dressing to give it a zing and it looks pretty sprinkled on cooked vegetables. Now here is a tip.

One of my favorite lemon recipes is from the Barefoot Contessa. This is her method of roasting a chicken. Preheat oven to 425, rinse a whole chicken. Dry and rub with salt, pepper and tarragon. Cut up a lemon in quarters and put inside chicken. I usually tuck a couple of pieces under the skin between the breast and the leg.

Then cut a whole head of garlic in half. Put the garlic, skin and all inside the chicken. Tie the legs with twine or thread.

Chop up any kind of potatoes, carrots, and onions. Spread in roasting pan and sprinkle with salt, pepper and tarragon.  Rub or pour some olive oil on the chicken. Roast for one hour, remove chicken, stir veggies and roast them for another 15 minutes. Very easy and very good.

Remove lemon chunks before serving, as cooked they sort of look like the potatoes and don’t taste that great when you bite into one.  (And the garlic cloves.) Although roasted garlic is very good spread on french bread.