(Image credit: Dana Velden)

We use a lot of lemons around my kitchen and I always hate tossing the still-packed with pulp halves. They're a great source for zest, but what else? Read on for ideas on how to put them to good use.

  1. Clean cutting boards naturally - Those spent lemon halves are ideal for disinfecting cutting boards. They'll still yield some juice and will work with coarse salt to gently scrub away stubborn stains.
  2. Add to the water pitcher - We always have a pitcher of water in the fridge, so adding in lemon halves as they're used adds a fresh lemon flavor to otherwise plain water. Just don't forget to remove old ones so they're not sitting in the pitcher too long — funky things will happen!
  3. Freshen the garbage disposal - Back in the glory days when I lived in one of the 10% of so of NYC apartments with a garbage disposal, I loved the fresh scent that lingered in my kitchen after running a lemon half through the disposal. If you don't have a garbage disposal, just running a lemon around the sink and drain helps freshen up the space as well.
  4. Clean the microwave - I love this tip for quickly steam cleaning your microwave without too much elbow grease. And it works great with spent lemon halves as well!
  5. Scrub stubborn food, like cheese dried on a grater - Lemon halves are like nature's little hand scrubbers -0 they fit in the palm of your hand and come packed with natural disinfectant. If you need a little more abrasion, add a bit of coarse kosher salt and scrub away.