Every backyard in the tropics should have a lemon tree.
They are just so versatile and nothing beats having a ready supply of them. Sometimes though, you have so many that you have to come up with some creative ways to make sure they aren’t wasted.
Here are 5 easy ideas I have been trying lately . . .
Classic American lemonade
Immensely popular in the States, it’s something you don’t see much of in Australia. What a shame, because it tastes good and really easy to make.
Add 3/4 cup of caster sugar to 1 cup of boiling water, stir to combine and allow to cool. Strain 1 cup lemon juice into this, then 2 cups of cold water and stir. Taste test and adjust with more water if it is too strong for you.
Once you’re happy, add some ice cubes, lemon slices and enjoy!
Delicious Sunday roast
Nothing could be easier than chopping up a lemon and stuffing inside the cavity of a chicken before roasting. It’s a fantastic way to add oodles of flavour if you don’t have time to stuff your bird the traditional way.
Rub down the outside of the bird with a mixture of crushed herbs (thyme, sage and rosemary), salt and pepper, then roast it.
You’ll have a delicious meal with a minimum of fuss.
Try adding some lemon juice to your icing mixture to give your cup cakes a wonderfully, tangy topping.
Simply combine 125 grams of softened butter, 1 cup icing sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and two teaspoons of grated lemon zest together and pipe on top your latest cup cake creation.
It goes particularly well with passionfruit-flavoured cupcakes!
Now this is one I’m really excited about.
So many times I’ve come across a great Moroccan or Middle Eastern recipe and as I browse through the ingredients, it calls for preserved lemons.
I’d never heard of them, until I watched an episode of Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, and from the moment I saw them, I knew I had to have a go at making them. They had the most amazing, vibrant yellow tone and looked so exotic. Worth having just to brighten up the pantry alone!
I figured surely it must be a time-consuming and tricky process, right?
Turns out nothing could be simpler. All you do is cut your lemons into quarters, but not all the way through, so they stay as on piece. Then place 1 teaspoon of salt into a sterilised jar.
Next rub another teaspoon of salt into the cuts in the lemon, then push it into the jar and squeeze it down hard with pestle or wooden spoon. If you can compress it enough to completely submerge the lemon in its own juice, all the better.
Sprinkle another teaspoon of salt on top, and repeat the process until the jar is full. If you didn’t get enough juice out of the lemons to completely cover everything, squeeze another lemon and use its juice to top it up.
Screw the lid on tight, and place in the pantry for minimum of one month.
Once mine have aged, I’ll find an interesting recipe to try them out in and share it with you.
This is a really simple way to boost flavour the next time you’re grilling your favourite cut of meat, whether it be beef, pork, chicken or lamb.
Grab a fresh sprig of whatever herb is available (preferably one you have grown yourself). Greek basil is what I’m using on these pork fore-quarter chops above.
Then squeeze a lemon into a dish and add a good lug of Olive oil. Now, dip your herb “brush” into this and baste the meat with it as it grills.
Repeat every minute or so.
What will happen is you’ll build up flavour as the herb oils release and mix with the lemon and the juices from the meat.
Just don’t forget to season your meat before cooking it.
So there are some ways to use up your lemon surplus. If you have never tried these ideas before, give them a shot!