With a lemon tree taking pride of place in so many Australian gardens, it is often a question of how to use the fruit. On backyard trees the fruit hang obligingly for weeks, with the heaviest crops occurring in late winter and spring. Lemon has so many uses: as a tenderiser, flavour enhancer, and preserver of colour in other fruit and vegetables. It is a refreshing source of acidity in drinks and a major ingredient in cakes, tarts, biscuits and creams. Lemon is mandatory with seafood, either squeezed on top or as the basis of a sauce. The zest can be used to make syrups in which to poach other fruit, and lemon peel can also be candied for a delicious after-dinner treat.
If your backyard lemon tree is heaving with fruit, here are six lemon recipes for making the most of your citrus bounty!
Time for a classic lemon tart. My favourite recipe is featured in The Cook’s Table, taking inspiration from Brisbane baker Jocelyn Hancock. She tops hers with a proper Italian meringue.
Preserved lemons last for years without refrigeration, and a slice enlivens a stuffing or is a marvellous garnish for grilled poultry or fish. Traditional methods can mean a wait of a month or two before the lemons are ready to eat – so in the Cook’s Companion App and book I have included both a traditional and a speedy method for those who cannot wait.
To make fresh lemonade, zest 3 lemons and juice 6 lemons. Dissolve about one-quarter of a cup of castor sugar in a little of the lemon juice. Pour all juice and zest into a jug, add a few bruised sprigs of lemon balm, verbena or mint. Leave for an hour and then dilute to taste with cold water.
Lemon Delicious Pudding
Still the most popular recipe on my website This is a classic and, in many families, the ultimate pudding – the golden sponge topping hiding a creamy lemon sauce. This Lemon Delicious Pudding Recipe is a favourite from the Cook's Companion. Click HERE for recipe.
This simple lemon slice is a made with a minimum of mess and is an ideal recipe for young cooks. There are three layers: a biscuit base, a gooey, sharp lemon middle and a cakey topping. Find the recipe in the Cook’s Companion App or book.
Greg Malouf's Lemon & Date Chutney
A delicious chutney recipe can be found in Greg and Lucy Malouf's cookbook Arabesque, also featured in my book Kitchen Garden Companion: Cooking. It is beautifully spiced and has some of the salty tang one associates with long-preserved lemons. The dates add a richness and a gorgeous texture.
The Cook’s Companion App and book.
The Cook’s Table
Kitchen Garden Companion: Cooking