Make lemon juice work for you around the motorhome.
When you have generous relatives with lemon trees, as we do, it helps to have some uses for this wonderful fruit. Lemonade comes to mind, but there’s a limit to how much you can drink. Fortunately, lemons are versatile. They are one of the strongest food acids you’ll have in your kitchen and are effective against most household bacteria. When you’re on the road, anything with so many uses is a valuable addition to your pantry. We don’t leave home without lemons.
1 Lemon Juicing Tips. Since there are so many ways to use lemons, it’s good to know how to get the most juice from each piece of fruit. If you have a microwave oven in your motorhome, heat the lemon for 15 to 30 seconds. Then, whether you’ve heated the lemon or not, press and roll it on the counter before picking up a knife. This will help you to squeeze the maximum amount of juice from the fruit.
2 Removing Odors. If your motorhome has been in storage, or if you have cooking odors in your coach, pull out one or two lemons, some baking soda, and a few small glass containers. Mix up a small amount of soda and lemon juice to form a paste in each of the containers and set them on the counters. The mixture will absorb odors while giving the coach a nice lemony smell.
3 Cleaning Windows. One of the nice things about traveling in a motorhome is all of the windows. One of the problems of traveling in a motorhome is keeping all of the windows clean. Here’s a recipe for an environmentally safe spray cleaner to keep those windows sparkling. Take the strained juice of two lemons, add to a cup of white vinegar, and put the mixture in a small spray bottle. You’ll have clean windows and a nice lemony scent for the coach.
4 Clean Up Your Cookware. Whether you use aluminum, stainless-steel, or copper cookware, lemons can help keep it clean and looking like new. Remove the stains from aluminum cookware by filling it with a quart of water and three tablespoons of lemon juice; boil for 10 to 15 minutes. For copper and stainless-steel pots and pans, cut a lemon in half, put some salt on the cut edge, and use it as a scrubber.
5 Spruce Up Your Microwave Oven. If you have a microwave oven in your motorhome, use our technique for keeping it fresh and clean. All you need is a lemon, a microwave-safe container, and some water. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into a cup of water and place it in the microwave. If you have a choice, select the highest setting. Turn the microwave on for five minutes. This will cause the water to boil, creating a steamy environment inside the oven and allowing the lemon-water mixture to condense on the inside of the enclosure. Wipe the inside of the microwave dry with a cloth, and you now have a clean and fresh-smelling appliance.
6 All-Purpose Cleaner. Here’s a quick recipe for making a nontoxic cleaning solution. Start with a pint of hot water and add the following ingredients: two tablespoons of lemon juice, a teaspoon of liquid dish detergent, and a tablespoon of baking soda. This solution can be used to clean the kitchen as well as the bathroom sink, toilet, and shower.
7 Tennis Anyone? Whiten your grungy tennis shoes by dousing them with lemon juice and placing them outside to soak up the sun for a few hours. Toss the shoes into the washing machine when doing your next load of laundry.
8 Brighten Your Whites. Speaking of laundry, have you ever noticed that when you wash clothing at a commercial laundry facility, it never seems to turn out quite as nice as when you wash it at home? For your white clothes, add a half cup of lemon juice to the wash cycle. There’s a reason they call it lemony fresh.
9 Mildew. Speaking of clothes, there have been several times when we were in a high-humidity area, and, lo and behold, damp clothing mildewed before it dried. Here’s a good way to rescue your garments should this happen. Make a paste of lemon juice and salt and rub it into the stained fabric (for light-colored fabrics only). Now hang the clothing item out in the sun to dry. Lemon, salt, and sunshine together can zap the mildew. For non-fabrics, straight lemon juice is a great treatment for mildew anywhere.
10 Furniture Polish. When we travel we like to have multiuse items to save storage space. Since we cook with olive oil, we just add lemon juice to it to make a furniture polish. Combine two parts of olive oil with one part of lemon juice. Use it sparingly and polish with a soft cloth.
11 Medicine Chest. Summer and the outdoors often lead to sunburn. Fortunately, there’s something close at hand to ease the pain. If your first thought was lemon “” since that is the topic of this column “” you’re right. As long as the skin is not broken, you can use lemon juice diluted with water to cool the burn. This applies not only to sunburn but also for treating minor burns you might receive in the kitchen or around the grill or campfire.
12 Sanitize The Kitchen. The acid in lemons is what makes it such a good cleaning product. An excellent use is to wash your kitchen cutting boards with lemon juice, particularly after working with items such as chicken. If you have a stubborn stain on a cutting board or a counter, pour on some lemon juice and allow it to stand for 10 or 15 minutes.
13 Make Lemonade. With all these ways to “work” with lemons, perhaps we should close with a tip for one of our favorite summertime drinks “” lemonade. One problem with making fresh lemonade is that the sugar usually settles to the bottom of the drink, leaving the first half too tart and the last half too sweet. Try this: Mix equal parts of sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat and stir until the mixture just starts to boil. Remove the pan from the burner, let the solution cool, and store it in the refrigerator. Make your lemonade by combining lemon juice, water, and the sugar mixture in a combination that suits your tastebuds. The sugar will stay in solution while you think up some new ways to use lemons.