The world of fruits and vegetables offers a bevy of variety. Moreover, we have also learned to accommodate leaves, roots, peel and even seeds of a range of food items in our daily meals. Our grandmothers used to often emphasise on the importance of eating ingredients with their skin intact. Interestingly, the peels of most fruits and vegetables are digestible and if consumed along with the fruit, complement the nutrients by adding more fiber to the entire meal. While fruits like apples and veggies like gourds or potatoes have traditionally been eaten along with the peel, many other items need dedicated cooking of their peels, for example bananas.
In this piece we shall talk about an everyday ingredient that most keep handy and many simply cannot do without - lemon. This citrusy wonder is loaded with Vitamin C and is great for strengthening immunity. It is an all-rounder that plays its charms in the culinary space and exhibits its brilliance in combating many health and beauty woes. Not much to our surprise, it is believed that lemon peel is equally beneficial as the ingredient itself. In India, the peel is usually dried, powdered and included in packs and masks to treat skin related issues and even in cooking. However, predominantly, the peel remains discarded and dumped into the trash can.
Lemon peel can be the answer to your everyday miseries and dilemmas. It is a great source of calcium and Vitamin C, it is therefore excellent for bone health and associated issues. Bioflavonoids present in it help in keeping stress at bay and eliminating toxins from the body. Lemon peel is also good for heart health and regulating cholesterol. It is enriched with pectin which facilities weight loss.
Lemon peel, when rubbed directly on skin can help in curing age spots, pigmentation, blemishes and dark spots around elbows and knees. You can add dried lemon peel powder in your regular scrubs and masks to eliminate tan and improve complexion. Adding lemon peel in you bathing water will also help fight bacteria and odour, leaving behind a subtle, post-bath scent. You can also use it during manicure and pedicure.
Lemon peel is a great agent to fight pests and ants. It is a natural cleanser, sanitizer and deodorizer.
There are exciting ways to add lemon peel in your daily diet. Apart from adding a whiff of freshness and zing to your meals, it will also bring in an extra dose of micronutrients to your food and can ensure waste management. The ideal approach is usually to grate some zest and add in your salads, soups and even desserts. Many recipes call for a hearty inclusion of dried lemon peels as well. Some of the easiest ways to incorporate lemon peels in your meals would be to blend it with some sort of preservative like oil, butter or sugar. If you are a fan of olive oil, try mixing it with lemon peels along with some aromatic herbs like rosemary.
You can ever grind together herbs along with a bit of peel and mix it with your everyday butter. Dried lemon peels traditionally go into making a variety of non-vegetarian preparations, desserts and even cocktails. Dried and powdered lemon peel can be added with other masalas to arrive at a completely new blend, you can even blend it with coconut and sugar. The classic will always be using it in soups and broths. Let your imagination run wild and include them into making jams, marmalades, pickles, dips and sauces. If nothing suits your fancy, a cup of steaming tea will always be soothe your soul, just put in a small piece of peel, or powdered lemon peal along with some lemon juice, honey and some cinnamon.
There exist some marvellous and ingenious recipes in the closed cabinets and waste bins of your kitchen. Human life has constantly been about evolution, a quest to device ways to make use of existing things in a better way. Let's think twice before trashing something, lets look at the culinary world with a new view. Lets unlearn and create new recipes, let us use ingredients like never before.
If you happen to experiment with lemon peels, share with us your recipes. We would be delighted, for now, we shall leave with you an easy recipe that will delight you beyond imagination.
Candied Lemon Peels
All you need is lemon peels, sugar and water (any flavourings, if desired).
Slice lemon peels into strips. Put these strips in a saucepan full of water and bring to boil, keep it for 30 seconds and drain. Repeat the process thrice to get rid of all bitterness. Now add sugar and water in a pan and boil (4 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar 5/6 large lemons). Now add peels and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Peels are cooked once they are translucent and easy to bite in sans any bitterness. When done, strain and let them dry. You can coat them in sugar or chocolate, let them dry and store in an airtight container. Make sure you let them dry properly to avoid sogginess and ensure crispiness.