Why does a little curl of lemon peel make our drinks or food so much more fun? Is it the bright pop of yellow? The clean citrus smell? Or knowing that somewhere nearby, a naked lemon has been liberated from its oppressive outer covering to add some zest to your life?
After a long winter and rainy spring, we are all starting to feel a little lemony and are ready for sunny days and warmer weather. Start soaking in that sun by wearing linen shirts and brightly colored sundresses while sipping lemon-infused drinks and zingy cocktails that bring a smile to your face.
Let’s not also forget lemon’s sour soul sister, lime. That little green girl adds a zesty flavor to many of our favorite summertime meals. This summer, we’re giving you four suggestions for making some curls, giving a few squeezes, and using the sour power of lemons and limes to help you unwind.
Tall and Cool
Summer is when we get our crushes on – and I don’t mean your Sandy-Danny type of crush. I mean your iced, slushied, slurpied kind of crush. There’s nothing to make a hot summer day feel less stressful than a tall, cool drink. If you’re feeling festive, you can always go with the classic lime-based drink: the margarita. Frozen or on the rocks? Who cares, as long as it’s cold! The great thing about the margarita is you can change the flavor and find recipes that include your favorite fruit. Not to be outdone by lime, the lemon-drop margarita creation from the Taylor House takes this citrus-flavored drink and adds a twist – literally.
Feeling more sweet than sour? You can whip up a pitcher of strawberry mojito slush (recipe from Busy at Home), a non-alcoholic delightful treat for all. The main ingredient may be strawberries, but the added lime zest keeps us true to our faithful fruit friends.
Things are Getting Juicy
It’s time to tear off that grill cover and fire up those burners. One of the fastest ways to prepare a juicy, delicious meal is by cooking it over a fire to evoke the best flavors. Use a citrus squeezer to squeeze fresh lemon and lime juice to marinate chicken or shrimp is an easy, inexpensive way to add instant flavor to these healthy main dishes. First, put the raw food in a bowl and add a few tablespoons of lemon juice and a few shakes of salt and pepper. From there you can get creative with additional flavors by adding such ingredients as olive oil, parsley, garlic, or thyme. Leave everything to marinate for at least half hour before putting the chicken or shrimp on the grill. Have those napkins ready beforehand, because people will be drooling just from the smell of your delicious meal.
Zest is the Best
As a kid, you may have thought lemons solely existed for lemonade stand business start-ups, but their flavor potential and profile expand as we get older. Lemon and lime zests are powerful weapons in the war against bland food. When given the proper zester, no food stands a chance. We can add flavor to anything from well-loved foods like spaghetti, seafood, and different meats and veggies. Looking to try a new recipe? These crispy jicama chipsfrom Running in the Kitchen offer a yummy alternative to potato chips. Yes, you are a superhero in the kitchen. Wield that zester with pride.
Front and Centerpiece
Lemons and limes are really quite beautiful fruits. If you’ve invited friends over for a summer meal, you can shop for ingredients and decorations at the same time. Instead of buying the three lemons you need for cooking, pick up a whole bag. Toss in some limes and bring those sour sisters home. Next, take out three or four vases, ranging in size from small to medium, and fill them at varying heights with the lemon-lime mixture. Place the vases in the middle of your table with a table runner or place mat underneath and voila, a fresh, clean, easy arrangement for your table. Now you’re ready to host your summertime gathering with pride!