Side Dish: When life hands you lemons, make lemonade (January 11, 2010)


“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” We have all heard that old proverb, but in my case life has recently handed me a truckload of lemons.
Let me just apologize upfront for what historians will probably call the Great Lemon Shortage of 2010. If you live anywhere in the Western Half of the US and have gone to your neighborhood grocery store in the last week, you may have noticed there are no more lemons. It’s a mystery that has had farmers scratching their heads. Of course, there is no mystery. There is just Kevin Walker.
You see if you’re married to Kevin Walker, when he hands you lemons you DO make lemonade, but then you are faced with a new problem. After you’ve made more lemonade than you could possibly drink or give away in two lifetimes and you still have lemons lying around, what do you do then?

After gallons of lemonade you can graduate to acres of lemon squares before moving on to other things: Lemon Cheesecake, Limoncello, Lemon Garlic Tilapia, Lemon Sorbet, Lemon and Herb Risotto Cake, Lemon Meringue Pie, Lemon Curd, Lemon-Berry Trifle, Lemon Drop Martinis, Lemon Zucchini Drops, Blueberry Lemon Cakewell, you get the idea. I’m starting to sound like Bubba talking about shrimp on Forrest Gump!

But did you know you can use lemons for other things around the house too?

* Use lemon juice to get the smell of garlic or fish off of your hands.
* Run lemon halves through the garbage disposal to make it smell great.
* Add a teaspoon of lemon juice to dishwashing soap to increase its grease-cutting power.
* Squeeze lemon juice onto a stained cutting board, rub and let stand for 20 minutes to get rid of stains.

Lemon juice also can be used to clean grout, brighten whites when doing laundry and bleach stains from things like tomato soup on dishwasher-safe plastic food containers.
So lets not disregard the wisdom of the”when life hands you lemons” proverb, but lets also expand on its meaning until our laundry is bright white, our grout is clean and our garbage disposal has never smelled better. Because lemonade is always just the beginning.

This is more a guide than a recipe. It’s always a 1:1:1 ratio of sugar to water to lemon juice.

1 cup sugar (can reduce)
1 cup water
1 cup lemon juice

3-4 cups of cold water to dilute

Method 1. Make a “simple syrup” by heating the sugar and water together in a saucepan until the sugar completely dissolved.
2. Extract the juice from 4-6 lemons. You want one cup of juice.
3. Combine the juice and simple syrup in a large pitcher. Add 3-4 cups of cold water, depending on the strength you’re looking for.
4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before enjoying. If it’s too sweet, adjust the flavor with more straight lemon juice and/or water.

Serves 6.

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