When Life Gives you Lemons ... Make Candles

Do you remember eating "lemon heads" as a kid? Remember how they smell? That sweet citrus tang that stays on your hands long after the sourish candy has gone past your molars to your stomach (especially if you're a chewer, not a sucker, like me).  Well, that's what my hands smell like today.  Yum, I put them to my nose for a whiff every couple of minutes. 

I like to do things with my hands, I can't draw all that well, my handwriting .... well, I'm left-handed, need I say more? The point is that I like to make things, to decorate, arrange, paste, peel, paint.  So, on Saturday I bought a bag full of lemons, borrowed my mother's melon peeler and for the past two nights I've been making lemon candles - if you can't tell by the pictures, its candles out of lemons.  I didn't really follow Martha's directions, the whole its important to heat the wax to exactly 180 degrees so it doesn't suck the lemons dry or not set right. I don't ever really follow instructions to the "t".  I suppose that's why I like cooking better than baking - with cooking you can get away with throwing a pinch in here and a handful there, but that can get you into real trouble when it comes to pies and cookies - just ask my mother, she used to let me make flour cakes (flour, water, and Reese's peanut butter cups on top ... I was ten).  I betcha some of you didn't notice anything wrong with my juvenile cake recipe, but as my mother later pointed out, cakes tastes better when you add sugar to your batter...but that's just her opinion, she said. ;)

Well, anyways, if anyways ever wants to make candles out of lemons, Martha knows best: 
 "You can easily make your own naturally scented votive candles from hollowed-out lemon skins and beeswax. When pouring the wax, make sure it's at just the right temperature (180 degrees): If it's too hot, it will draw all the moisture from the lemon; if it's too cold, it won't cool and set well (....yeah, yeah...thanks Martha). These candles are best used within a day or two after making them. Makes 24 candles."

Tools and Materials
•1 dozen lemons
•Knife
•Melon baller
•Candy thermometer
•1/2 teaspoon lemon oil
•Wicks
•Wick holder
•1 pound beeswax
•Small paintbrush

Lemon Candles How-To
1. Cut the lemons lengthwise. Squeeze out as much of the juice as possible without tearing the skin. Hollow out the lemon halves with a melon baller.

2. In a double boiler, heat beeswax until melted, about 180 degrees. Check temperature with a candy thermometer. Turn off the heat and add lemon oil.

3. Cut 3 inches of wick; tie a knot at one end. Thread the loose end through a wick holder, and pull so the knot is secure under the holder.

4. Dip the wick and holder with wax until coated; this will stiffen and straighten the wick. Press the wick holder into the bottom of the lemon half to affix. Let the wick dry.

5. Pour the wax into the lemon half, and fill to the edge. Use a small paintbrush to coat the rim of the lemon with wax. Let the candle dry for about 4 hours.

From Martha Stewart Living Television, February 2000

Of course, I didn't have beeswax, so I bought a whole bunch of vanilla scented votive candles and stole the wicks/wick holders off of them and melted their wax instead of the bees'.  I'm on a budget, I do what I can.  Oh! And I found some apple nutmeg scented oil to add to some instead of the lemon oil that's prescribed.
I love the smell of lemon zest on my fingers.