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From adding flavour to detoxifying and even acting as a bleach, lemon has uses. Sanjeev Kapoor on benefits of lemon.

india Updated: Apr 11, 2009 21:15 IST

Lemons are most wanted these days…hence the rise in their price. But then that does not deter me from keeping at least a dozen at home at any given time.

Besides other things, lemons are meant for nimbu pani that is excellent for this season…it cools and gives the Vitamin C needed to improve immunity in these see-sawing temperatures.

If fate hands you lemons, make lemonade.. that’s an old one. Some bright spark added, “If fate gives you lemons, find a vodka and have a party”. For lemons can garnish drinks — use as slices, spirals of lemon rind or wedges — but lemon juice can change the taste of a drink, and for that matter even food.

Full of zest
I wonder what a marinade for fish and chicken would be like if lemons become extinct? Lemon zest adds a tanginess to cakes, cookies and puddings too. Lemon pickle in two versions — sweet and sour— can even be made with used lemon peels.

I have also used lemon peels to scrub fingernails clean, especially when they are stained with fruit juices in the kitchen.I have seen my wife Alyona use them vigorously on the elbows and knees of our daughters when they were little girls and came home grubby.

Lemon is also a good bleaching agent. Some enterprising ladies even dry the peels, grind them and use as face packs or bleach white clothes in the lemony water.

Kitchen queen
As this article is tipping toward too many tips, lets see what a lemon can do in the kitchen for you besides the drinks, marinades and pickles.

Make Lemon Rice for dinner today. Stir fry boiled rice with, chana daal, urad daal, dry red chillies, turmeric powder, hing, peanuts, curry leaves and finish off with a generous sprinkling of lemon juice. It has a lot of satisfactory texture and the perfect fresh flavour for a warm evening.

Or cheer up the kids with a chilled Lemon Banana Lassi which is just a blending together of fresh yogurt, bananas, lemon juice, honey and ice. Good enough for a tired adult too.

And, how could I miss out on Lemon Iced Tea? It is lovely with cubes of frozen iced tea clinking in the glass.

It is commonly believed that warm water with honey and lemon first thing in the morning helps you to lose weight. I suggest that this drink be treated not as a fat burner but as a body cleanser as it helps to detoxify.

In fact, if someone is looking at losing weight then honey should not be added at all. Just warm water with a squirt of fresh lemon juice is good enough to cleanse the system.

(The writer is a master chef, author and television host. Email at

First Published: Apr 11, 2009 19:39 IST