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What to do with lemons?

Today’s blog is all about Lemons….

Do you have a lemon tree at home or do you use lots of lemons for cooking? Do you have lots of lemon peels that end up in the rubbish? If that is the case – then this is the blog for you!

We have lots of different fruit trees here on our property on the Mornington Peninsula where we make our range of balms – Be Better Balms – handcrafted using remedial herbs from our garden.

We have 6 lemon trees, so we end up with lots of lemons….We use loads of lemons – having a lukewarm glass of water with a whole lemon squeezed in is a great way to start the day and kickstart your digestive system. We also use it a lot for cooking – Lemon meringue, Lemon chicken, Lemon Curd and of course giving some to friends and family.

But we all end up with the lemon peels! So here are a few suggestions on what you can do with all those lemon peels:


First of all, make sure you keep the lemon peels in the fridge so keep them as fresh as possible until you need them. Oh, and when I say lemon peels – I mean the whole thing, not peeled or grated, just whatever is left after juicing the lemons.


Lemon peels in the dishwasher -

Add the 1-2 lemon peels to your dishwasher – place them in the cutlery tray. Lemon contains a compound called d-limonene (that’s where the word lemon comes from) – this compound has amazing de-greasing and anti-bacterial properties. So adding lemon peels to your dishwasher will boost the cleaning of your dishes. It’s also a great way to run a cleaning cycle on your dishwashing machine – just place a few lemon peels, add ¾ cup of white vinegar and run an empty cycle to clean and shine the machine.


Lemon peels to clean stainless steel and chopping boards –

Rub the lemons across the surface of stainless steel appliances and chopping boards. Let it sit for 10 min, and then rinse with a wet sponge/cloth. For wood cutting boards – pour some salt on top of the lemon, rinse after 10 min. The salt absorbs the dirt.


Lemon peel all purpose cleaner -

This is probably my favourite thing to prepare with lemon peels. It is so easy to prepare, looks very appealing, smells divine and is a very cost effective way to use lemon peels and get a super potent cleaning product for your house. So how do we make this magic all purpose cleaner?

You will need:

  • Lemon peels (and other citrus peels like oranges, limes, mandarins, grapefruits will also work) – enough to fill in a glass jar with a lid
  • White Vinegar – white vinegar deodorises, shines, breaks down fat, it helps neutralise PH (it’s an acid). You can also use apple cider vinegar. Vinegar is made by using natural sugars in fruit or starches in some vegetables and fermenting it, so yeast breaks down the sugar/starch into an alcohol product. Then bacteria are used to ferment the alcohol to acetic acid which is vinegar – pretty cool, ah?


lemon peels



  • Put all the citrus peels into a glass jar, about half full (keep the jar in the fridge until you have all the peels you need).
  • Add white vinegar to the jar with the citrus peels. Make sure the peels are fully submerged in the vinegar.
  • Make sure the jar is tightly closed and leave the jar in a dark place (a cupboard is ideal) for about 2 weeks. This marination will help release the Di-limonene and the lovely citrus aroma into the vinegar.
  • Once ready, strain the vinegar and pour it into a spray bottle.
  • Add a couple of drops of a cleansing essential oil like Sweet Orange, Grapefruit, Lavender or simply Lemon essential oil

And there you go – you have yourself a super cleansing, aromatic all purpose cleanser for your house cleaning.


adding vinegar


Jam with natural pectin from lemon peels and pips -

This is another great way to use lemon peels and in this case – lemon pips!! To create your very own pectin which helps to set the jam consistency.

You will need:

1kg of fruit cut to pieces (apricots, peaches, pear, apples, strawberries – whatever is in season!!)

500g sugar or honey

1 cup water

1 lemon

Muslin sheet – you can purchase a muslin sheet at lincraft or spotlight

Cold plate – place it in the freezer


  • Halve the lemon and squeeze the juice – keep the pips!
  • Place the lemon peels and pips in a muslin sheet and tie it to close.
  • Place the 1kg cut up fruit, lemon juice, water and the tied muslin sheet in a large and wide saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and stir for 10 minutes of until the mixture begins to thicken.
  • Add the sugar or honey and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
  • If you like a smoother consistency, you can mash the mixture with a masher.
  • Increase the heat to medium, boil and stir. Remove any scum (the bubbles rising). Do this for 20 minutes until you are happy with the consistency of the jam – to test this, place a very small drop of the jam on a cold plate (the one you placed in the freezer). It should stiffen and set like jam. If it doesn’t, keep simmering. Discard tied muslin sheet.
  • Ladle the jam into a clean, dry jar and seal. Store in a cool dark place.

 making lemon cleaner DIY

Conclusion -

Lemon peels – never throw them away!! There are so many things to prepare with lemon peels…so give it a try, keep the lemon peels and challenge yourself to prepare one or more of the recipes we suggested above. I would love to hear your comments, any questions you may have and any other suggestions you have on what we can all do with lemon peels!! Enjoy 

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