If you’ve just made your family a meal with lemons and were about to throw away the rinds, stop right there! Those leftover bright, yellow chunks are just waiting to be used and I have gathered the 11 most vital things to use them for if you’re a parent.
I’ll start out by admitting that this post is not so much about the little ones as it is about the parents. But that’s important too, right? Especially if taking care of the parents will indirectly benefit the kids in the end by saving the parents a bit of time and money by being frugal.
That being out of the way, I want to share these little tips with you guys. In our household we make a lot of different recipes that calls for lemon juice like creamy pesto, elderberry gummies or ginger and turmeric shots. I use to always throw away the leftover rinds after having squeezed the juice out of them, but I feel kind of silly now for doing that when apparantly there is so much you can do with those rinds. The acid in the lemons is great for quite a few things and I’ve gathered the 11 best ideas for parents.
11 ways to use leftover lemon peels and rinds – parents edition
1. Clean your coffee pot, tea kettle and coffee cup
Coffee and parenting are two things that go hand-in-hand in my book. And if you’re anything like me then it’s probably pretty safe to assume that minerals build up pretty fast in your coffee pot. But don’t worry, there’s hope. The hard water deposits can be dissolved by the acid in the lemon.
- The coffee pot: Add lemon rinds, a few tablespoons of salt and a big cup of ice to a cold coffee pot and swirl everything around for 3-5 minutes. The stains should be removed completely. If they aren’t leave the mixture in and soak overnight. Remember to rinse the coffee pot well afterwards to avoid really sour and salty coffee.
- The tea kettle: If you don’t drink coffee, but tea instead, then it’s probably your kettle that needs a bit of love. Just cut a few slices of lemon peel and pop them into the pot with some water and bring it to a boil. Turn it off and let sit for about and hour. Drain and rinse well and all that mineral build up should be gone.
- The coffee mug: After you’ve cleaned your coffee pot your cups are probably looking a bit sad compared to the shine from the pot. No worries. You can clean that to. Just rub the inside of your mug with a lemon peel to get rid of those annoyingly stubborn stains that your coffee and/or tea have left behind. If they are just as stubborn as a 2-year old that refuse to put their shoes on, when you really have to hurry out the door, then soak the lemon peels in water for several hours and wipe with a clean cloth. That should do the job. I unfortunally have no miracle advice for the stubborn toddler, but please let me know if you have!
Now go make more coffee (or tea if that’s your thing) and then continue reading the list.
2. Make lemon peel tea
If you-re going through a lot of coffee every day (like me), it’s probably wise to sometimes drink a cup of tea once in a while to kind of balance it out. Especially a tea made from lemon peels which is suppose to help relief inflammation and gas – and bad (coffee?) breath (which I of course have never had). Finely chop about one tablesoon worth of lemon peel and put in your favourite tea cup (a big coffee cup will do as well). Add boiling water, cover and let it sit for 10 minutes. Drink while still hot. If it’s too bitter for your liking just add a tad of sweetner of your own choice.
3. Make a chemical free all-purpose cleaner
As a parent you can’t really get around having to clean. You can try, but you’ll regret it faster than you think. At the same time you want to avoid any harsh chemicals, which is why I love this idea to make your very own all purpose kitchen cleaner. Find the recipe from thekitchn right here.
4. Clean your kitchen surfaces
If you need to clean your kitchen and can’t wait for that all-purpose-cleaner to be done, then take advantage of the acidity of the lemons and it’s antibacterial properties. Simply pop half a squezed lemon in the microwave for 10-20 second and rub them on your counters, the sides of your microwave, your stove top and any other odd kitchen surfaces like your (clean) cutting boards. Lemon does a really great job of eliminating odor from garlic and such that’s been trapped in your cutting boards. Just remember to wash off all surfaces with a wet bloth after a few minutes. And of course don’t rub lemon peel on any acid sensitive surfaces like marble – it won’t end well.
5. Make those dishes sparkle
I like both my glasses and my silverware to sparkle, but I don’t want to spend time on polishing them. I would much rather have an extra shower or a nap or just to sit and stare into the air for a few minutes in complete silence. Fortunally I can get them to sparkle without elbow grease by simply placeing leftover lemon rind that’s been juiced on the top rack of the dishwasher and then turning the dishwasher on with the dishes in them like normal. That’s it. Just remember to throw that rind away afterwards.
6. Make lemon scented play dough
If you want to make something for your kids with your leftover lemon rinds I suggest making lemon scented play dough. The smell from the lemons are suppose to refresh the mind, which might just be what is needed after a long day in daycare or in school. Just grate some lemon peels (or grab some zest from the freezer) and knead it straight in there. I would recommend using about a tablespoon worth if you’re making your own play dough following our recipe. If you have it in stock you could add a few drops of lemon oil in there aswell for an extra lemony scent.
7. A quick addition to your parental beauty routine
You can look up different beauty recipes online using lemon peels. But if you have a baby in your house a weekly shower might be your current beauty routine and adding more time in the bathroom alone might be on your wish list, but realisticly not something that will happen in the near future (sorry). But you could do one or two tiny things, that requires no preperation just to feel a bit more like before your baby days.
- Soften up dry and rough elbows: If you have a tendency to dry, rough and possible a bit dark elbows, then save the rinds from one lemon the next time you cook and simply place an elbow right in middle of each of the rinds (not neccessarily at the same time). Just rest the elbows on the lemon halfs on a tabletop for a few minutes, rinse with water and feel the improvement straight away. They will be much softer than before!
- Tone that skin: If your elbows are already soft as a baby bottom, then maybe your face could use a pick me up after a day spend outdoors with the little ones. Just gently rub some lemon peels on your face, maybe squeezing a bit of juice out aswell (careful with the eyes). Rubbing peels on your face this way works as a simple skin tonic that cleans the pores. Just remember to rinse straight away with water.
8. Zest away
If don’t want to throw away those peels, but don’t feel like cooking, cleaning and have given up on beauty, then there’s still something to do with those lemon peels. Simply grate the peels, either using a grater or a specific lemon zester, and freeze the zest for later. That way you’ll have lemon zest right on hand to throw in a cake batter, in a salad dressing or in a marinade. Meal prep is the way to go when you’re a parent.
9. Disguise smell and freshen the air
I’m not saying that your house will smell because you have kids. But I am saying that sometimes a lemony smell could come in handy. When those occasions arise, add some lemon peels to simmering water and let it simmer on low. You could even toss some cinnamon sticks or cloves in there as well. It will give your kitchen a nice aroma and humidify the air at the same time which is especially great during flu season, as increasing humidity inddoors can significantly reduce the infectivity of influenza virus particles.
You could also put a few lemon rinds or peels in your trashcan or in the fridge to cover up some of the smells from there. But if you put it in the fridge just remmeber to take it out again. Otherwise you’ll be making a worse smell than the one you are trying to disguise.
10. Make lemon water
A quick and easy way to make your water a bit tastier and a bit more healthy is to add strips of lemon peels to your water (try to avoid the white, bitter pith). Use a vegetable peeler to cut the peels. The taste is refreshing and as an added bonus, is also suppose to help aid your digestion, boost your energy and add some vitamin C to the mix.
11. Start growing seeds indoors with your little ones
If you want a fun little activity with your kids that will teach them a thing or two about gardening then this is for you. By using the leftover rinds from lemons that were cut in half and juiced you can start growing seeds indoors. Simply fill the lemon halfs with soil, using them as little seedling cups, and plant a tiny seed of choice in them. Water and watch the seed grow. When spring comes, you can plant the entire cup outdoors.