Pucker up!

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Between twists for cocktail garnishes and zest for recipes, sometimes you end up with a whole lot of sad partially denuded or completely naked lemons. Stripped of their protective zest layer, these lemons are in a race against time, and while you can certainly juice them and keep the juice in the fridge for salad dressings or splashing into beverages, here are 5 zesty ways to use up lemons that go way beyond lemonade and vinaigrette.

Clean with lemons!

Lemons are a powerhouse of cleaning benefit in the kitchen. If you have wooden cutting boards or a butcherblock, the best way to give them a great clean and deodorizing is to slice a lemon in half, dip the cut end in coarse salt, and scrub a dub dub. Wipe the salt and lemon mixture off the surfaces with a clean, damp towel, and you are ready to chop and mince again. If you have a built-in disposal in your sink, grinding a whole lemon will help clean and deodorize it. And using the cut side of a lemon to help clean the oft-overlooked edges and rims of your dishwasher door will both remove the grime and make your rubber gasket sparkle and seal better.

Make lemon syrup!

Roughly chop the lemons, in whatever state they are in, and add to a simple syrup made by dissolving sugar into water in a 1:1 ratio. You should have enough syrup to almost cover the lemon, but with some pieces sticking up out of the liquid. Heat to a simmer and let cook until it reduces slightly and thickens to a more glaze-like consistency. For a clear syrup to use in beverages and cocktails, strain out the solids. For a "goop" that you can put on toast or pancakes or in crepes, or smear on fish or chicken, puree the solids into the syrup. Either choice will store for ages in the fridge.

Lemons
Credit: Getty / didyk

Make citrus supreme with lemons!

If you have never made citrus supremes, now is the time to learn. These versatile segments of lemon are an amazing ingredient to oomph up your cooking with pops of lemon and acidity, in a much more interesting way than just squeezing juice over. I fold whole supremes of lemon into punchy lemon Dijon vinaigrettes to give my salads some moments of refreshing excitement. I gently stir whole supremes into a beurre blanc sauce to make my seafood sing. You can even add them gently to a salsa verde or chimichurri to serve with meats. Once you've supreme your lemons, just store in a jar in the fridge with a little juice to cover.

Grill lemons!

A halved lemon, cut side down on your grill until well charred will give you a juice to squeeze over your meats or grilled vegetables that is slightly sweeter with hints of smoke, and a lighter acidity that works well with anything coming off your cooker.

Freeze lemons!

First, make sure you remove all the bitter, white pith of the lemon, then cut the flesh into cubes. Load one cube in each section of your ice cube tray and fill with water. Lemon ice cubes in your iced tea, water, or even pop will give a subtle flavor as they melt.