Since I started using zest of lemons to make homemade lemon tea, I’ve thought it a shame that, apart from its use in baking, we don’t have much use for the skin or zest of this fruit. Same goes for limes. When we picture lemons we think fresh, zingy, alive! Think lemon juice and your lips purse up. Think lemon zest and what? In aromatherapy, this is where the essential oil of lemon is extracted from. Don’t underestimate the zest. It’s full of vitamin C and anti-oxidants and has been claimed to contribute to lowering cholesterol and improving insulin sensitivity in those at risk of diabetes.
In her book “The Lemon Juice Diet”, author Theresa Cheung says that consuming both the juice and peel of lemons helps burn off fat. The citric acid stimulates gastric juices which aids with healthy digestion. A study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition states that the pectin in lemon peel can keep you feeling full for up to 4 hours. You don’t have to consume whole lemons, it could just be grated lemon zest over your food and a squeeze of juice in water or tea.
I love homemade lemonade but hate the preparation in squeezing and grating, so went looking for a lemonade recipe for lazy (and health conscious) people which includes lemon pulp, juice and zest.
Simple lemonade recipe using everything but the seeds.
For every 1 lime or lemon, take 4 cups of water. Quarter the fruit, removing pips, mix with the water and ½ cup of sugar and blend. Add more sugar if desired, or remember to reduce the sugar for next time. I remember my old Cranks recipe book preferred to use brown sugar as it gives a richer flavour. If the thought of adding sugar makes you cringe, warm the water and add honey or agave nectar before blending with the lemon or lime. Throw in some ice cubes and an umbrella and, hey presto, you have a cocktail!
Simple lemon tea
Using a vegetable peeler, take off strips from the lemon peel. Infuse in boiling water for minimum of 10 minutes. The oil is gradually extracted into the water and gives this drink a subtly sweet and fresh taste. If you include the pith with the peel, you will get a bitter drink. The strips of peel can also be stored in the fridge so you can make your lemon tea later at your convenience.