Could there be a more perfect fruit?? Let’s learn how multi-functional and amazing lemons are in the kitchen.


Mmm, the lemon. This tart fruit might be one of my all-time favorite fruits!

Of course, they’re not something I bite into on a daily basis (the thought of that burns my tooth enamel), but a staple in our natural cleaning routine and many, many recipes. I usually buy 5-7 in one shopping trip because I use them so often throughout the week!

Here are my top five favorite uses for the trusty lemon, because this tart citrus can (almost) do it all:

1. Flavor enhancer.

Lemons are kind of a culinary lifesaver. We’ve all had those moments where we take a dish out from the fridge and take a bite only to taste bland, boring leftovers. Solution? Squeeze some fresh lemon on it to brighten a dish’s flavor profile.

2. Kitchen sink refresh.

There’s nothing worse than the wafting scent of rotting food and yesterday’s leftover bits of salmon dinner coming up from the kitchen sink’s drain. Throw half a whole lemon (cut into smaller pieces if your disposal isn’t the best) down the sink drain, with the water and disposal turned on. Run about 3-4 minutes or until the disposal runs quiet again.

3. Cutting board cleaner.

Keep your wooden cutting boards fresh. Sprinkle with coarse salt (amount will vary depending on the size of your board) and scrub board with half a lemon, cut side down. Allow a few minutes for the lemon juice to penetrate before wiping with a clean, damp kitchen towel. Do this at least once a week!

4. DIY lemon infused vinegar cleaner.

It’s really easy to make your own natural surface cleaners! Peel 4-6 lemons, discard the juicy flesh and place peels in a large mason jar with white vinegar. Add in a few sprigs of fresh herbs (optional, but smell great!), secure lid, and let stand for about 2 weeks for the herbs and lemon peels to infuse into the vinegar. Strain vinegar into a spray bottle or smaller mason jar and use to clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces!

5. A natural preservative.

Lemons help preserve fruits and veggies from oxidizing and turning brown, like cut apples or avocados, and can help crisp up wilted greens when soaked in a cold lemon-water bath. It can also help inhibit bacterial growth in food.

Dianna Sinni Dillon, RDN, LD is a Registered Dietitian based in Kansas City, MO with a passion for all things whole grain, green, and homegrown. She focuses on empowering and inspiring others to take charge of their wellness through simple plant-based recipes and science-powered advice.