What to do with lemons?! Lemon and citrus season is in full swing and if you are lucky enough, you may be struggling to use up all your produce before it goes to waste. A great problem to have! Below are a few of my favourite ways to use up lemons. I love how the lemon season coincides with the flu season and lemons are a fantastic natural remedy, packed full of vitamin C for colds and flu! Nature really is amazing. If you have a ton of lemons, below are some great ways to preserve your lemons so you can use them throughout the year.
Fresh off the Tree
One of the best ways to extend your harvest is to leave them on the tree for as long as you can. As soon as you pick them they will start to ripen and deteriorate much quicker than if they remain on the tree. I love fresh lemons especially walking out to my garden and picking a lemon and cutting it up for a fresh cup of hot lemon water or in summer, iced lemon water! This is also the best way to get the most vitamin C as once you cook or dehydrate lemons, the Vitamin C levels reduce significantly. But there is only so much fresh lemon I can eat…
Gifting or Swapping
Gifting or trading your excess lemons is a great way to make friends with your neighbours! Your friends, family and work colleagues may also love some fresh lemons if they don’t have a tree at home. This can open up some great conversations and people may even start bringing and gifting their own excess produce.
It’s winter and I love a hot water lemon drink in the morning to warm up! The only thing is that often I put the remaining half a lemon in the fridge and it will end up at the back of the fridge until it gets thrown out 🙁 So if I want lemon for my tea I pick a small one and put it somewhere front and centre so I can see it! This is why I love using dehydrated lemons because you can use a couple of slices as needed. Dehydrated lemons can also be used in baking, cake decorating, or finely chopped to add some lemony flavour to your cooking. They rehydrate once they get wet so they work quite similarly to fresh lemon but have a more caramelised flavour.
Zest the skins and dehydrate. Place in a jar and use in cooking and baking to as some lemony flavour!
You can then juice the lemons and freeze into ice cubes. Once the cubes are frozen, place into a container or freezer bag and label. These can be used in cold drinks, cocktails, cooking, baking and added to boiling water for a delicious hot lemon tea at just the right temperature! (can you tell I like lemon tea).
Ok, so you have now used the zest and the juice of the lemons, what do you do with the remaining flesh?! Place all the lemon scraps in a jar and fill with White Vinegar. Place in a dark spot in your pantry and leave for two weeks. You can then strain the liquid off and add the same amount of distilled water and you have a natural all-purpose cleaner. This is a great way to get the most out of your lemons with as little waste as possible.
You can also simply throw a few slices into your jug/kettle and add a few dashes of white vinegar and water. Simply boil the jug and then let it sit for 30mins. Rinse and clean. This will help remove the limescale and calcium build-ups on your jug.
Lemon slice, lemon meringue pie, lemon cheesecake. I’m not one for baking recipes but I have been doing some trial and error lately!
In winter I like to make a roast vegetable salad because it’s a little bit more of a winter warmer but not too heavy. I chop up my root vegetables (carrots, sweet potato, beetroot, potato etc) along with some wedges of lemon and oven roast with oil and herbs. This is a great way to use up those half lemons in the fridge or some lemons that are getting too ripe. Once the vegetables are roasted I serve in a bowl of chopped up greens and top with feta cheese, pumpkin seeds, and aioli dressing. The roasted lemon wedges can then be squeezed on top and they add beautiful mellow caramelised lemon flavour.
Lemon butter or curd is heaven in a jar! This is a super luxurious and delicious way to use lemons and can also make great gifts! Enjoy on toast, pancakes, meringues or add to the centre of lemon muffins for a delicious surprise.
There are still so many different ways to use lemons that I haven’t tried yet. Here are a few below:
- Preserved Lemons
Let me know what you use lemons for in the comments below!