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Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Whole Lemon

Today I was invited to do a short talk and demonstration at the Uni Open Day as part of the 
There was a really great turn out and other speakers included seed savers and urban bee keepers.
I chose to talk about lemons because they are at the peak of the season now. I wanted to get people using not just the juice and a bit of zest but also the skin as well.

Previously I've posted about lemon cordial so I won't belabour the post repeating it all here, you can click on the link and read more. 
After juicing your crop and freezing it down into blocks and/or making the cordial, it's a prime time to make a batch of preserved peel.

 Again and again people are surprised to discover how delicious this peel is and it is a great bonus in the pantry. I also encourage people to save the juiced halves in the freezer instead of throwing them out and then using them for preserving at time more convenient.

Here is a quick run through again for making preserved peel
Thick skinned lemons make the best peel, like a Eureka/Lisbon variety
Take the lemon halves and push them flat and roughly slice them into strips about 1-2cm wide, this is just rough and they don't have to look neat or even.

Place them in a large pot with enough cold water to cover and bring to the boil, drain and repeat two more times to remove the bitterness from the pith.
After the third boil drain and weigh the peel. 
Return it to the pot with the same weight of sugar and place on a low heat stir to dissolve and rapid simmer for about 1-2 hrs. You will see the peel turn more translucent and the jewel-like.

Drain again and set out to dry. The best method I have found is to use cake coolers over cookie sheets to catch any drips and to allow air to flow around the peel for faster more even drying.
This may take up to a week.
At this point it will be a bit sticky but definitely drier. Toss in some caster sugar to prevent sticking together and store in air tight jars.

This peel is now ready for your Christmas baking in the next month or so. It makes a beautiful gift in an attractive jar and I also like to serve it on the side of coffee instead of a biscuit...but how to stop at just one!

Another wonderful way to preserve the whole lemon is by packing it in it's own juice and salt and I demonstrated just how quick and simple this method is. The preserved lemon is ready in a month and improved with longer time and is delicious added to any slow cooked dishes upon serving. Try it with chicken casseroles or slow cooked Moroccan Lamb Shanks.
My friend over at "Eat At Dixiebelles" has done a superb visual tutorial, proving how simple this method is. You can see her post here. 

There are so many great recipes for lemons and I hope you will consider using the whole lemon too.

I also had a lot of people asking about my cookbook and where to order it.

as a print version in both hard and soft cover and an e-book is also available to download.

Thanks to everyone who came along today, it was lovely to meet you and share your enthusiasm. I hope the recipe and method briefs here are clear enough for you and if you have any questions please ask in the comments or click on the "email me" up there near my profile pic.

Renae - please email me as you won the meat cookery book and I am still waiting for your address.) 


  1. I made this peel last year, using the skins after I made lemon cordial. It was SO delicious. I couldn't stop eating it! Had to hide it in the end. Will make more this year!

  2. Oh my! So much to catch up on. A cookbook??? Congratulations. YAY!

    Love that apron.... and the photo of you. You're absolutely gorgeous!!!

    ... and now for my lemon tree to one day grow lemons. I think I've got a dud. Must read up about them because I have never heard of a person having a dud lemon tree before!!!


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