5 Spot: Lemons

We all know the old adage: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! As it happens, sour is the flavor that corresponds, in Chinese medical theory, to Spring.  So here are five ways to transmute sour to, well, goodness, with lemons in this season of the return of the light. For all of these suggested uses, start with one or two ripe, organic lemons.

1. Lemonade. Really. Why not? Hot, or cold, lemon juice mixed with a little honey and some water is refreshing and thirst quenching. A glass of hot lemonade first thing in the morning, in Springtime, helps wake up your Liver, which for most of us is a bit sluggish after the long winter stillness. Just mix a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of juice of a lemon into a cup of hot water, and drink first thing in the morning. Though citrus fruit juice is acidic, when metabolized by our bodies, it has an alkalizing effect. This is good, as acidic internal environment encourages inflammation and tumor growth; an alkaline environment has the opposite effect.

2. Lemon juice skin toner. I happen to like freckles, but to my speckled, red headed, beautiful Grandmother, Miriam, they were the source of a never-ending battle for domination. I remember her rubbing lemon juice on her face and arms every day.  Since I remember her with freckles, I can’t recommend this use as effective. But lemon juice on skin will clean and refresh. Mix a few drops of lemon juice and a few drops of witch hazel into 6 ounces of distilled water, and use any time for a quick refresher.

3. Lemon juice in chicken soup. This was my friend Janelle’s secret recipe for perking up chicken soup. Use your favorite recipe, then add a squeeze or two of juice from a fresh lemon before serving. It adds just a little hint of sour that melds great with the savory of the chicken and vegetables.

4. Getting metaphorical, think of one area of your life – public or private – that needs some work. Perhaps your finances are stagnating, or that closet you keep meaning to organize has started throwing things at you…. Spring is a great time to clear out the old and make room for the energy to move.

5. Plant a lemon tree. These trees don’t thrive outdoors here on the Palouse, but they make great ornamentals for indoors. And it’s a great source of hope to plant some seeds in winter, and watch as they grow and develop as the days lengthen and the snows melt. It’s fun for all ages! All you need is a spade, a pot (go to Wild at Art and paint up a pretty one), some potting soil and a few lemon seeds.

I’m always grateful to nature for her reminders that life continues to grow and change; perhaps never more so than in spring. We can thank nature, in the form of lemons, for giving us the little push we need to get our Qi flowing again as the earth wakes from her winter slumbers.