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Recipes for Beauty: Lemons

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I love the old saying, “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” It carries such an empowering message about overcoming obstacles that we face day to day, and whoever came up with it couldn’t have chosen a better fruit. Lemons are a natural mood booster and their scent has calming, stress-relieving properties. I bet an ice-cold glass of lemonade would go a long way to help you power through a bad day. And lemons do more than just brighten your mood—they’re great for your skin! Lemons contain a ton of vitamin C, which stimulates the production of collagen to smooth and firm skin. And lemon is also an antioxidant that protects skin against damage by free radicals.

Lemons hit their peak in summer, so ‘tis the season to enjoy these tart citrus fruits. And don’t forget about the zest—it packs a tangy punch that brightens everything from baked goods to salad dressings to steamed veggies. Here are three easy recipes that showcase for enjoying all they have to offer.

Thirst quencher: Minted Lemonade

  • 1.5 cups simple syrup*
  • 2 cups lemon juice (about 10 lemons)
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 6–7 cups cold water
  • Slices of lemon and mint sprigs

*To make simple syrup, heat 1 1/4 cups sugar and 1 1/4 cups water over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Stir together the simple syrup, lemon juice, mint, and cold water. Refrigerate for one hour to let the flavors develop. Garnish with slices of lemon and sprigs of mint before serving. Serves 10

Easy Cleanup: Lemony Fish Packets

  • 4 flounder fillets (or other flaky, white fish)
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 sprigs of thyme
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thinly slice the lemons, zucchinis, and red bell pepper, and quarter the onions. Toss veggies and garlic in 2 Tbsp olive oil and evenly divide between four large squares of aluminum foil. Top each with a fish fillet seasoned with salt and pepper, slices of lemon, and two sprigs of thyme. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the fish, and then fold up the sides of foil to make air-tight packets. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Serves 4

Zesty salad: Spinach Salad with Lemon-Pepper Dressing

For the salad:

  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • 8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 8 sliced cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 2 oz goat cheese

For the dressing:

  • 2 lemons
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Juice the lemons and whisk in olive oil and black pepper. Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl, and toss with the dressing. Serves 4