There are two real loves in my life… gardening and food (I hope my partner and parents aren’t reading this!), and I am always chuffed when I am able to combine the two. I was talking recently to my non-horticulturally minded brother, who remarked that his lemon tree was absolutely heaving with fantastic fruit, and I had an idea: “Why not share some of my secrets for coping with the cracking cornucopia of citrus?”. So here they are, for your lemon-loving pleasure!

Preserved Lemons

A staple ingredient in Moroccan cooking, preserved lemons are dead simple to make at home, and are a great way to use some of your home harvest. Remember, it is generally the skin of preserved lemons that is used in cooking, rather than the flesh, so the thicker the skin of your home grown lemons, the better this recipe will be.

Cut the lemons in quarters, add a pinch of salt, and then cram as many lemon quarters as you can into a sterilised glass preserving jar. Pop a few of your favourite spices in as well; those tried and tested in my house include cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamon seeds, all spice and peppercorns. Now add a cup of salt, and pour a cup of lemon juice on top (making sure all the lemons are covered). Pop on the lid, seal well, label and date, and then whack it into the fridge for six weeks…it’s that easy.

Lemon Curd

An absolute family fave, lemon curd is a winner, and a great way to use some of those left over lemons. Oh, and if you’re a creative type (this is where I fall down), lemon curd in pretty jars with lovely labels make great gifts!

1 1/2 cups
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar
1/3 cup (80g) chilled unsalted butter
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
Whisk whole eggs, yolks and sugar in a saucepan until smooth, then place pan over a low heat. Add the butter, juice and zest and whisk continuously until thickened. Strain through a sieve into a sterilised jar. Lemon curd keeps, covered, in the fridge for 2 weeks.

Lemon Curd recipe from

Easy-Peasy Lemon Cordial

Another “must-do” with your load of lemons, this cordial is a staple in our house, and a fantastic “mixer” for a massive variety of cocktail combinations!  As they say, “If life gives you lemons, make fabulous cocktails”…or something like that!

About 4 litres

6 large lemons
20 g tartaric acid
20g citric acid
1 kg sugar
2 L boiling water
Put sugar, citric acid and tartaric acid into a large bowl (or very clean bucket!). Grate rinds of all 6 lemons over and then add strained lemon juice from the same 6 naked lemons. Pour boiling water over the whole lot and mix well. Bottle and seal.

Getting involved in a Local Food Swap

Ok, so it’s not edible, but sustainable local food swaps are a sure recipe to get to know your neighbours, and reduce food miles, consumerism, waste and the damaging environmental impacts of certain types of agriculture and food production. From leaning over the fence and giving a bag of lemons to the neighbours, joining a local gardening group, and attending free fruit and veggie swaps at your local community house/farmers market, there are a million ways you can connect with community and turn your load of lemons into a sack of spinach!

Picture: Mary Trigger (SGA)