A squeeze of lemon in your water. A bit of lemon juice to finish a pot of beans. Lemons are endlessly useful in cooking, and it feels so wasteful to just toss those peels into the compost or trash. Next time you juice a lemon, try some of these ways to reuse lemon peel!
We waste around 40 percent of the food that we produce. That’s a lot of our grocery budget hitting the compost bin or the landfill. Finding creative ways to reuse food that we’d normally toss is one way to make a dent in that 40 percent.
I don’t know about you guys, but lemon peel feels especially wasteful to me. You get maybe 1/4 cup of juice out of them, then we toss the bulk of the fruit. The good news is that there are lots of ways to get the most out of your lemons by reusing the peels.
The ways to reuse lemon peel below include ideas for making green cleaning products, DIY beauty supplies, and even some tricks for cooking with those leftover lemon peels.
10 Ways to Reuse Lemon Peels
1. Cleaning Scrub – Dip half of a juiced lemon in a shallow bowl of salt to create an instant scrub for counters and for greasy pots and pans. Since salt can be harsh on some surfaces, make sure you do a small test area before you go crazy with this scrub.
2. Vinegar Cleaner that Smells Good – Instead of mixing plain old white vinegar and water to make your all purpose cleaners, try using lemon peel-infused vinegar instead.
3. Rejuvenating Hand Scrub – Lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and olive oil combine to make a lovely-smelling scrub for dry hands.
4. Stash That Zest – You might not need lemon zest now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t zest your lemon peels and freeze the zest for later! Just toss the zest into a freezer-safe container, and you can pull it out next time you’re making a recipe that calls for zest.
5. Deodorize Your Cutting Board - Set aside that juiced half a lemon, and rub the cut side on your cutting board to kill bacteria and deodorize.
6. Deodorize Your Garbage Disposer – This was a trick that my parents always used when the disposer started smelling stinky. Toss some lemon peels down there, turn on the faucet, and let it go. The kitchen smells amazing afterwards, and you’ve replaced harsh chemicals with something 100 percent natural!
7. Scent Your Room Naturally – Simmer lemon peels, herbs, and essential oils in a pot of water to make your house smell great without nasty chemical sprays.
8. Make a Cloved Lemon – Just like the cloved oranges you make around Christmas, a lemon covered in cloves will dry instead of rotting. Just make sure that you stick the cloves evenly over the whole lemon, then place it somewhere that needs a little bit of help in the smell department.
9. Candy Them – Candied lemon peels are super delicious! They take a bit of work to make, but if you have the time, they’re worth it.
10. Make Infused Olive Oil – Steep lemon zest in olive oil for a few days, and you’ve got fancy citrusy oil for salads or for finishing soups and stews.