This summer our lemon tree exploded with gorgeous fruit bearing lemons. So many that I couldn’t keep up with picking them. And since, I hate to see anything go to waste, what do you do when life hands you an influx of lemons?
Here’s what I did…
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I’ve been giving friends and family bags and bags of lemons. I don’t think any of us has had to buy lemons all summer.
It’s one of my favourite things to give people fresh, organic produce that has been growing in my garden. It’s like spreading a little of my garden all over and it’s precisely what plants live for.
To spread their seeds far and wide.
My hubs got into squeezing fresh lemons and making us lemonade all the time, and it’s pretty darn amazing!
In the beginning we were still figuring out the perfect combo and finding ways to preserve it (yes, we had THAT much), but with a little trial and error you’ll find your perfect taste.
We don’t like ours super sweet, so adding the same volume of sugar as you have lemons (as so many online recipes suggested), was a no go for us.
We started with about a quarter the amount of sugar which was a little too sour, but somewhere between a quarter to half the amount of sugar vs lemons, we found our happy taste space. Just remember add lots and lots of ice!
Little side note – We never got around to preserving it, but will try that out next season!
Make Lemon Juice and Freeze it
Another way we made our lemons last longer was with home-made, freshly squeezed (preservative-and-all-that-nonsense-free) lemon juice.
Apparently freezing store bought lemon juice is a no-no, BUT freshly squeezed lemon juice, can be frozen and used as long as you freeze it soon after you juice it.
For this one, the hubs and I whipped out our Kenwood Lemon Juicer and spent one night squeezing lemon juice. I found these awesome honey-bottles from Westpack and thought they’d be perfect. So, we got the juicer going and then strained the juice through a sieve before filling the bottles.
Hubby used the pulp for his lemonade fix. Just FYI!
We went through a truck load of lemons. I started counting them for research and reporting sake, but man oh man does it become tedious lol. At the end of the day, we filled six bottles with beautiful, fresh juice and I chucked out a massive shopping bag of empty lemon-peel shells. All I can report on is that it was VERY heavy!
Normally, I compost every bit of organic scrap, but decided against composting all the lemon leftovers as it was too much and I don’t want to turn my entire garden into overly acidic soil.
Anyhoo! I’m sure we have enough lemon juice to last us until next summer! Mine are frozen upright in the freezer (you can lay them flat in the freezer after they are frozen) and will take out one bottle (freezer to fridge) as I need.
Just one tip: Luckily my hubs is more forward thinking than I am, and he suggested not filling the bottles right to the very top. So glad we did this as the lemon juice (obviously) froze and I (obviously) didn’t take into consideration that it would expand and it (obviously) did! So thankfully it had space to freeze nicely.
Make Lemon Preserve
Since I had SO many lemons, I thought I’d try home made lemon preserve. This one will be for later use, since it’s still fermenting, but we’re almost there!
I found an excellent (really easy and clear instructions) video on YouTube by Rockin Robin Cooks to create my baby, fermenting away. I sliced my lemons as directed, salted them, loaded them up, added some black peppercorns, bay leaves and water and ta-dah. Done in like 5 minutes. I’ve got about six or seven lemons chilling in my mason jar.
I contemplated doing it in a massive jar, but it has to go into my fridge at some point (unless I use it all before, let’s see) so I need to be mindful of size and space.
Keep the sink clean
In case you don’t know, I’m big on sustainable cleaning, so using lemons to clean my kitchen really makes me happy. My favourite thing to use lemons in the “cleaning” process is for my kitchen sink. Ya know those things get all funky and gross, so what do you do?
I sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda all over my sink (I buy it in big 2kg bags and use it a lot for cleaning). Then, slice open a lemon and squeeze the juice all over the sink, on top of the bicarb. I give it a little time to fizz and then I use the lemon as a scrubbie to get my sink sparkling and hygienic. The result is pretty astonishing, as it works wonders on really gross gunk and smells so lovely while I admire my squeaky or is that (squeezy-clean?) sink.
And did I mention that apart from scrubbing the sink, I use the lemon scrubbie to clean my kitchen taps too?
It works a charm and shines them to perfection.
By the way, lemon juice is a wonderful, natural cleaner for your drains too – so you get the added benefit of disinfecting and debunking the drain, which also works well for the bathroom.