April 25, 2021

Okay, that title is a bit click-bait-y. In this case, I asked for the lemons.

Here’s the story…

Every winter, my local water district drains the canals that provide some of our water. They use the time to clean and repair the canals. Then, in the early spring, they release water back into the canals. That results in our tap water tasting a bit dirty for a while, but it passes once the canals are flowing freely again.

This year, my water tasted strongly of dirt and mildew for weeks. My Brita filter was unable to get rid of the taste. For a few weeks I wouldn’t even brush my teeth with the tap water because it tasted so nasty. There was sediment in the little mesh filter at the end of my faucets, but even cleaning this out didn’t improve the taste. I had to use bottled water for drinking, brushing my teeth, and cooking. 

So I called the water department.

The guy I spoke with said I wasn’t the only one who’d complained, but the taste was harmless, just a result of organics in the water from the canals being active again. Since I’m near the edge of the city limits, fresher water was taking a while to get to me. He said to run the faucet for a couple of minutes each morning to flush out the pipes.

Yeah, that didn’t work. The water still tasted gross.

So I asked a coworker if he had lemons from his trees that he wanted to get rid of.

A metal bowl full of fresh lemons

Fresh, yummy lemons! Photo copyright 2021 by Vanessa Kier.

These are about two-thirds of the lemons he gave me. I turned all of them into juice, but also used a grater on the skin of one to make zest for a loaf of lemon blueberry bread.

Photo of a loaf of lemon blueberry bread cut in half, sitting on a wire cooling rack.

This is the lemon blueberry bread. It's the first time I've tried this recipe. Photo copyright 2021 by Vanessa Kier.

I had to use a fair amount of lemon juice to mask the taste of the water for the first week. But now, three weeks after I called the water department, I’m back to using the tap water to brush my teeth. I could probably drink from the tap, but even through the Brita I still taste a slight something.

As for the lemon juice, I’m not going to run out any time soon. Since I froze a batch of the juice, I might still have some around next year if the same thing happens.

So there you have it. A not-so-sour tale of water, life, and lemons.

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