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Look out, lemon!

An excellent source of antioxidants and vitamin C, this fruit has been used as a cure-all for thousands of years in its native Asia. Almost every part of the lemon serves a culinary purpose, and outside the kitchen, its antiseptic qualities shine. Here are four modern ways to use this versatile fruit.

Lemon juice

Highly antibacterial, lemon juice can be used to treat acne. Mix 2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice with ½ teaspoon rose water. Soak a cotton ball in the mixture and lightly sweep over face. Any initial stinging will subside. Leave on overnight and wash off in the morning. (Don't use on sensitive skin.)

Lemon rind

Most citrus fruits — as well as lemon-scented plants such as lemongrass, lemon thyme, and citronella — are effective insect repellents. Place rinds on a cookie sheet, and dry in a 150-degree oven for three hours. Gather a cupful of dried rinds and pour onto a large piece of cheesecloth, tie with a string, and hang in closets or storage spaces to keep out moths.

Lemon oil

The scent of lemon essential oil invigorates and refreshes. This oil increases circulation, and its vitamin C stimulates collagen, which encourages smoother, more elastic skin. Natural, cold-pressed lemon oil should smell complex, fresh, and aromatic. Always sniff a lemon-oil product before purchasing — if it smells harsh, it's probably not all natural.

Preserved lemon

Available at natural foods stores, preserved lemons have simply been pickled in salt and their own juice. Chop 2 tablespoons (rind and all) and mix with 2 tablespoons olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a few cracks of pepper for an incredible dressing or bread dip.

Want more info on lemons? Search hundreds of Lemon recipes and beauty articles in our archives.

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