How to make the most of a surplus of lemons

By: information Courtesy of CERES FAIR FOOD

When life gives you too many lemons - don't waste them.

Unlike other fruit favourites, lemons thrive in winter and soon many backyard growers across the country will be bursting with more than they know what to do with.

So how can we make the most out of them?

CERES Fair Food Founder and sustainability advocate Chris Ennis provides his top tips for reducing waste this sour season. Use up that citrus peel

From making your own fire lighters to homemade liquor, there are plenty of ways to use up that peel and kick a few DIY goals at the same time.

Try drying the peel for a few hours in a very low oven, or on top of the wood heater overnight. Once dried, whole pieces or slices can be stored in a paper bag as they are, or ground into a fine powder for sprinkling on baked goods or meals.

Dried slices make a nice cup of tea or can jazz up a hot chocolate but can also be used in slow cooked stews and Chinese style cooking, infusing steamed rice, or in desserts and fruit loaves. For cooking, limiting the white pith will minimise bitterness.

If you do have a wood heater at your place, or like to enjoy a fire outside, dried peel is a great fire starter! The aromatic (and volatile) oils smell lovely as an extra bonus.

You can even make your own homemade limoncello - lemon rinds steeped in vodka and sugar syrup to be enjoyed all summer long.

Green cleaning

Put those fragrant, antibacterial oils to work as natural helpers around the house. You can make a simple vinegar based cleaner by adding used rinds to a glass jar and covering with regular white vinegar before leaving the jar to infuse for 2-3 weeks. Add a stem or two of herbs like rosemary, tea tree, or lavender to the jar for extra strength and good smells. Strain the mix after steeping, and transfer to a spray bottle. Dilute 1:1 with water if you want to stretch it a little further.

You can also use cut lemons to wipe wooden cutting boards, especially if they're garlicky. Let the lemon soak in, give them a scrub and rinse in hot water. For an extra refresh, leave them in the bright sun to dry.


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