It’s early August, and our lemon tree is bursting with lemons! We have a whole tree’s worth of large, free-from-pesticides homegrown lemons that we probably can’t use all to ourselves. You may also have a beautiful lemon tree and feel like you have an overabundance for your household.
So what can you do to make sure that none of that beautiful produce you’ve grown goes to waste?
The bright yellow lemons look and smell fresh, and you can use the juice and zest for so many things. Lemons are very versatile – here are ways to use surplus homegrown lemons for cooking, cleaning and sharing with your community.
Cooking with Lemons
Using lemons in cooking is one of my favourite ways to use surplus homegrown lemons. My few favourite recipes using lemons, which all use lemon juice for cooking, are:-
- Donna Hay’s Baked Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake
- Lemon Sago
- Yoghurt Lemon Muffins
- Homemade Lemon Cordial, found in Stephanie Alexander’s The Cooks Companion Cookbook
- Limoncello, found here at sbs.com.au recipes
- Aunty Elma’s Lemon Butter
Watch this short video where I mention all of these recipe ideas. Preserving lemons – using these genuine preserving jars – or simply squeezing them into stainless steel icecube trays to use for later are also really nifty surplus lemon ideas.
Cleaning with Lemons
Say hello to your natural descaler and use your lemon juice for cleaning.
Quarter fill your kettle with lemon juice. Leave for 1 Hour. Leaving the lemon juice in the kettle, top up with water. Boil. Pour out the boiled water before it cools, then rinse out several times with cold water to remove any traces of juice. This handy tip has been around for absolute decades – with thanks to Low Tox Life for the reminder!
A handy cleaning tip to keep your chopping board naturally fresh is to sprinkle it with coarse sea salt and lemon juice. Using half a lemon, rub the salt into the board. The salt acts as an abrasive whilst the acidity of the lemon gives your board a deep clean.
If you still have too many lemons after cooking and cleaning, share your lemon produce with your friends to give them the pleasure of using your locally grown lemons.
Otherwise, join your local Buy Nothing Project group or find a Crop Swap event near you. For example, in Lake Macquarie NSW, there’s the Lake Mac Grows Facebook group or the Caves Beach crop swap group. The community swap their surplus produce with others who also have an abundance of produce.
These are a few different options for using ways to use surplus homegrown lemons. If you’re fortunate to have a lemon tree, feel lemony-blessed! Reach out to others – including a local crop swap event – to share your homegrown lemon goodness.
If you don’t have a lemon tree, put your community feelers out to find out who has a tree with an abundance of lemons waiting for you to put to good use.
Our small actions – knowing how to use our locally grown surplus effectively – means we’re doing our part to support locally grown, use what’s available and reduce food waste.
Aunty Elma’s Lemon Butter
My Granny and Pa (The Smiths) met Elma and Cec (The Jones’) in October 1943 on their honeymoon in Bowral. Their close friendship endured for nearly 60 years.
Cec and Elma lived in a weatherboard homestead on an acreage in Dural. They had the luxury of owning a car, and the local shop was some distance from their home.
Elma was an excellent cook and relied on her abundance of citrus grown on their property. Her daughter’s and close friends shared Elma’s love of cooking.
My fondest memories of eating lemon butter are in the cooler months, generously spread on toast. Made with natural ingredients, the sweet-sharp tang complements the beautiful buttery flavour — a perfect topping for toast, pikelets, cakes, tarts, and pancakes.
You will need:
2 cups caster sugar
5 x eggs
The rind of 2 x lemons – yellow skin only, no white pith
Juice of 3 x lemons
Add the ingredients into a double saucepan – or heatproof mixing bowl resting over a saucepan of water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl.
Regularly stir the mixture with a whisk until the lemon butter thickens.
Tips for making the best lemon butter:
- Use an even temperature; never boil the mixture.
- Consistently stir the mix for smooth lemon butter.
- It takes up to 20 minutes to reach the right consistency.
- The lemon butter is ready when the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon, leaving a clear line when you run your finger up the back of the spoon.
- The cooled lemon butter will set further in the fridge.
- Store in the fridge in small sterilised jars – up to several weeks
Find Out More…
Related stories from French for Tuesday:
- Local permaculture advocates Dean and Honey share why they love hot composting
- Discover how our local food organics and garden organics bin collection service is useful when we don’t have the ability to home compost
- Growing your own veggies is one way to “shop” from your backyard as well as coming along to one of the local monthly crop swaps.
Related External Links…
The following links support this story:
- Global organisation The Buy Nothing Project is creating a real shift in the way we can use what’s already in circulation
- Local crop swap Lake Mac Grows facebook group
The following links are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may receive a commission if you choose to make a purchase from these Australian businesses.
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