8 Healthy Ways to Cook with Lemons
Walking in a Citrus Wonderland
Every winter I look forward to my favorite time of year - lemon season. I never fully appreciated lemon season until I moved to the West Coast. Sure, each December I get jealous of my East Coast friends’ cozy photos of hot cocoa by the fire on a scenic snow day. But then I glance at the bowl of fresh Meyer Lemons on my dining room table and remember why I love living in California. We traditionally associate lemons with a hot summer day when the air is thick and the only thing that will remedy the humidity is a cold lemonade. What many forget in our current, everything-is-available-all-the-time food culture, is that citrus naturally peaks in winter. But even my East Coast friends can enjoy the season with lower prices and more variety of citrus at the start of December.
In the Bay Area, Meyer Lemons have been popping off in full abundance recently. Last week, I foraged over 3 grocery bags full of lemons with the intention to give most of them away, which was not as easy as expected. I assumed these golden treasures would be eagerly accepted by my friends and coworkers, but the resounding reply was “NO more! I already raided my [neighbor’s, friend’s, parent’s] tree and have more than I know what to do with!” So we end up hiding lemons in each other’s bags, secretly trading back and forth, until our stock is down to a manageable size, only to end up with more then we started with... Who knew lemon season would turn into in a twisted game of hot potato? A privilege of living in the citrus paradise we call the Bay Area, I know. I still would happily trade a bag of lemons for a snow day.
So when life gives you an abundance of lemons: try to give some away, make probiotic lemonade, and follow these tips from my favorite Food Bloggers’ with 8 Healthy Ways to Cook with Lemons:
8 Healthy Ways to Cook with Lemons
Cookie and Kate’s Blood Orange & Meyer Lemon Curd is the perfect holiday treat. Spread on toast, biscuits, and scones. Put a dollop on your oatmeal, pancakes, or yogurt in the morning. Fill crepes or make make a citrus tart for dessert. Or eat it with a spoon. Go for it!
This 4-ingredient Lemon Vinaigrette from Minimalist Baker is an easy staple to keep in the fridge. You can toss over cold salads, serve with roasted veggies, or use as a marinade for meat. Homemade salad dressings are a healthier and sometimes cheaper option than store bought varieties.
My favorite way to use up lemons is to throw them in a jar with some salt (basically) and make preserved lemons. A lot of people ask me how I use preserved lemons and honestly - on everything. Organic Authority’s 10 Delicious Ways to Add Preserved Lemons to Your Food offers an easy guide to make your own Preserved Lemons and tips to incorporate them into your meals. Try their recipe for Traditional Moroccan Chicken Tagine.
Use your preserved lemons to cook up Trout with Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette from Food & Wine. Trout is in season right now and packed with flavor, healthy fat, and anti-inflammatory omega-3s.
Jenny McGruther of Nourished Kitchen is one of my favorite female kitchen witch magic workers. Check out her recipe for Fermented Probiotic Lemonade Soda. Her cookbook, Nourished Kitchen, is an excellent last minute Holiday Gift idea!
Known for her go-to cookbook on gluten-free baking, Alternative Baker, the Bojon Gourmet offers a lip puckering citrus cocktail to warm you up this season. Mix up One for the Money Cocktail and enjoy your life.
Zen Belly’s recipes are approachable, mindful, and foolproof. Try her Paleo and Nut-free Lemon Squares and make your family and friend’s palettes swoon.
Naturally Ella’s Lemon Spotlight provides a useful overview on how to shop for, store, and cook lemons. Her Vegetarian Blog should be bookmarked for your next Meatless Monday meal.