I have a love-hate relationship with lemons. On the one hand, they make some of the most delicious drinks and desserts around (lemon bars and strawberry lemonade, anyone?). On the other hand, they’re too sour to eat on their own, so I always have to have a game plan in mind whenever I purchase them.

Last year, I wrote an article on all the ways you can use lemons to clean your kitchen. Since then, I’ve had plenty of time to think of more genius ways to hack your lemons. Here are the seven lemon hacks you need to know to get the most out of this sour citrus fruit.

Prevent browning

apple, juice, sweet, vegetable
Jocelyn Hsu

A classic lunchtime hack. Simply squeeze a few drops of lemon juice onto your apple slices to prevent them from oxidizing and turning brown. Be careful not to put too much lemon juice on them though, or else your apples will taste extremely sour.

#SpoonTip: This trick works well with bananas and avocados too.

Slice it lengthwise

lemon, juice, citron, lemonade, sweet, lemon peel
Alex Frank

I actually learned this trick while interning with a food blogger last year. Instead of slicing your lemons through the middle, slice them lengthwise to get more juice out of them. This increases the amount of exposed surface area, meaning it’ll be easier to get all the juice out.

Get rid of garlic smells

garlic, vegetable, condiment, elephant garlic, relish, pasture
Kristine Mahan

This clever lemon hack comes straight to you from my mom, circa the 1990s. Ever since I started helping her in the kitchen, I’ve been using a little lemon juice to cut the onion and garlic smells from my hands. You’ll need to rinse your hands with warm water as well to get rid of the sticky lemon juice.

Clean your microwave

tea, lemon
Claire Waggoner

This clever lemon hack will demolish that marinara sauce that’s dried inside your microwave. Simply mix ½ cup of water, the juice of two lemons, and the leftover lemon rinds in a bowl and microwave on high for three minutes.

Let your concoction sit in the microwave for five more minutes before wiping down the sides of the microwave. The steam from the lemon water will loosen the gunk inside your microwave and make it easier to clean.

Clean a wooden cutting board

lemon, citrus
Claire Waggoner

Wooden cutting boards are notorious for hoarding bacteria. Fight the germs with a sprinkling of kosher salt, then rub it vigorously into the cutting board with a lemon half. This will also removes any odors clinging to your board.

Kickstart the digestion process

lemon, juice, lemonade, citrus, lime, citron
Jocelyn Hsu

While it’s yet to be proven whether or not warm lemon water actually aids digestion, there’s no denying that a big glass of water in the morning is excellent for you. Lemon water will help hydrate your body, and the antioxidants in the lemon are good for your immune system. Just be aware that the acidity of the lemon juice can erode the enamel on your teeth, so drink your lemon water with a straw when possible.

Make a natural cold remedy

ginger, tea
Aarti Vyas

If you prefer natural remedies to store-bought medicine, make a concoction of lemon juice, freshly grated ginger, and honey. The vitamin C in the lemon juice will help your body recover from being sick, while the ginger helps fight nausea. Honey helps soothe sore throats, but also makes this concoction a bit easier to throw back. If a spoonful of this stuff sounds gross, try mixing it with some warm water to make a tea. 

The next time you're stuck with a bag of lemons you're unsure what to do with, give one of these lemon hacks a go. Or just make a lemon pie or something (sometimes the classics are best).