Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lemons A-Plenty

You might be forgiven for thinking that life as a part-time student (which is probably as much as a thirty hour week for me during semester), married to a full-time student, with a three-and-a-half year old son might mean that some weeks only study gets accomplished.  You would be completely correct, so there'd be nothing to forgive!  Some weeks nothing but study and the very basics of life get done.  But I do try to curtail my perfectionistic self from preening essays ad-nauseum.  I try to maintain balance.  Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I don't (so I just find it really, really, really hard to hand in something that I don't feel is up to my personal standard, okay!).

But in the midst of it all, I like to keep up with as many things around the house as I can.  That means basic housekeeping, baking, mending, etc.  We are blessed to have a prolific lemon tree in our new rental.  Seriously, it had so many lemons I had to take some off because I was concerned about it's gradual lean towards the lawn.  Now, in my past life, I had decided, very definitely and completely, that when we own a house again I would not include a lemon tree in my top 10 (top ten fruiting must-have plants!).  I didn't really see the point.  The only thing I used lemons for was lemon and honey drinks when I have a cold, and occasionally  making lemon honey (aka lemon curd or lemon butter).  As it is basically fat, sugar, and lemon I figured it was better not to submit my sweet-loving tastebuds to such temptation on a regular basis. Therefore, lemon trees were a bit wasteful, in my mind.

I have repented.  While a lemon tree might not be quite at the very top of my list, it now wouldn't be too far off it.

Lemon trees are wonderful.  Lemon trees are both beautiful and delicious! 

I just love the fragrance of citrus in flower.  So scrummy!  And I've discovered that there are many uses for lemons that I'd not previously considered.  A Spanish infused chickpea dish for instance, or sprinkled with a little olive oil and salt over baked hoki (oh my, that was seriously good fish and SO easy!), my fermented kefir drink (that we are having everyday now the weather is warm), or lemon juice drizzled over a salad as a simple dressing.  That delicious salmon risotto is just nowhere near as good without the half a lemon squeezed in at the end.  But my absolute favourite use?  Hummus, of course!

I have been using lemons like there will never, ever, ever be a lemon shortage.  Currently, it is hard to imagine my tree will ever be bare of them.  But I know differently.  It will.  Sooner than I think and definitely sooner than I want.  Then my heart will crave lemons.  Then I will want warming lemon and honey drinks, and healthy hummus.  But there will be no lemons.  My tree will be carefully creating me some more, and I will have wait patiently for it to turn those tiny, hard little green blips into soft, fragrant lemony yellow lemons.

As I tried buying lemons when we first moved here, when the lemons on my lemon tree were solid green balls, I am not really interested in repeating the experience.  Juiceless, that's what they were.  Juiceless, useless.

I have instead come up with a cunning plan:

Lemon juice freezes really well!

21 lemons later, and I had one and a half cups of lemons.  And a sore hand, because I don't own a juicer.  Next day, I had lots of tablespoon sized lemon ice cubes in nice tidy zip lock bags in my freezer.  And free ice cube trays (aka silicone mini-muffin pans) to do it all over again.

I have sadly run out of room in my freezer.  But I should at least be able to make a few batches of hummus when it's not lemon season. And make a lemon and honey drink or two without having to resort to buying lemons.

What clever ways have you come up with to spread your harvest season or use your surplus?



Maxine D said...

Haven't any ideas as I never have a surplus. Did you try freezing them whole as you were thinking of?
Love and blessings

Elizabeth Collins said...


I LOVE lemons and have seriously stripped the two TINY little lemon tree's here. So save some for us, and I'll gladly take some home in January!

In-laws have an amazing lemon tree at their new house also, and I hope to help strip that also ;-)!