I have a lemon/lime tree in a big pot which was a Christmas gift nearly a year ago. So far we’ve picked two limes off it, but as yet no lemons. It’s looking promising for next year as both sides have had many, many flowers on them, but some are also falling off just as they start to set fruit. I’ve move the pot as it was getting frequent whacks as Miss Three zoomed past on her trike, so I hope that will provide a more conducive environment for lemon/lime growing. I’m desperate to start seeing fruit get beyond the tiny, tiny pre-fruits that are currently covering most of the limbs. I can almost taste the lemon and limes I will be picking. In the meantime I raid my grandfather’s lemon tree whenever I can and accept with much gratitude any other gifted lemons I manage to pick up. Luckily this generally meets our needs for lemons, but I don’t think you could ever really have too many, could you? So with that here are my favourite uses….
Whether it is lemon only or a combination of other citrus, lemon is a must in our home made cordial. I say ‘our’ as Mr Good makes this now most of the time, I love when I can pass off some aspect of cooking from scratch to him leaving me more time to do other kinds of cooking. If only I could get him to make the cereal (that HE eats most of). As for the cordial it is perfect with soda streamed water and ice after a tiring session in the garden, especially as the weather start to warm up (which I’m sure will happen sometime soon).
2. Lemon Butter
Mmmmm, lemon butter! I love this stuff, though I don’t make it too often. I love it quite simply on toast in the morning eaten with a cup of tea. But it’s also great on scones with cream, on a pavlova with blueberries or to make tiny little lemon tarts.
3. With fish or seafood
It is undeniable that lemon and seafood are a friendship made in heaven. I especially love the lemon zest used in this salmon, broad bean and lemon pasta. For an even faster dinner we often quickly barbeque white fish seasoned simply with salt pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Served, of course, with another wedge of lemon for squeezing at the table.
4. In a sweet treat
There’s just something about a really good lemon slice isn’t there. For me it has to be decidedly lemony, and not too sweet. I make the lemon curd slice pictured below, but Mr Good’s aunt makes an awesome traditional lemon slice. Lemon tart or lemon meringue pie are other great lemon sweets, though I all too often find these disappointing when I order them in a cafe or restaurant – just not lemony enough. I remember my mum making a dessert known as lemon crumb fluff (I think fluffs were quite the thing when she first started making this), which was a delicious wobbly warm dessert. She now makes lemon velvet creams which are even better.
5. As a cleaning aid
It seems somewhat sacrilegious to use lemons for anything but for food, but there’s no denying they are also a wonderful cleaning aid. Whether it’s to clean the barbeque, scrubbing the oven with lemon and salt, lemon peel soaked in vinegar to make an all purpose cleaner or to rid my hands of the smell of onion, garlic or fish after cooking, lemon is just a wonderful cleaner. I use it in some form or other to clean just about all aspects of my house. I much prefer that very mild citrus smell after cleaning my floors or bathrooms than the intense chemical smells of most commercial cleaners. I can also attest to the fact that it works wonderfully with bi carb soda at getting ink or dye off children’s hands. Twice Miss Three has dyed her hands green, that no amount of soap would get off, and both times rubbing with bi carb and lemon worked a treat.
Lemon must be one of the most versatile ingredients in the kitchen and there is good reason just about every established house in my area has a healthy, fruit-laden lemon tree in the front yard (though they sure do taunt me with their abundance). And believe it or not, Miss Three loves to eat them just like an orange. She begs me for the halves after I’ve squeezed them so she can eat the left over bits. There are so many things she won’t eat, but she will chow down on a lemon, go figure!