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When Life Gives You Lemons: Lemon Recipes for Home Cooks

It's that time of year, when lemon trees all over the country are drooping with delicious zesty citrus, just waiting to be plucked.

But for anyone who owns a lemon tree, or knows someone who does, this abundance of seasonal produce is often met with the anxiety of pending waste.

Apart from the occasional wedge with your whiting, or squeeze in your honey tea – to ward off winter bugs – many of us struggle to find enough ways to use our loads of lemons at this time of year.

Fortunately, it's a problem that has troubled fruit growers and homemakers for generations, resulting in some delicious, time honoured lemon recipes that will not only help you to make good use of your lemons now, but will also allow you to enjoy them for months to come.

Lemon Curd

There's something truly comforting about the taste and texture of lemon curd, its sweet, creamy and citrus zestiness makes it the ideal filling for homemade tarts, topping for a light sponge or fairy cakes, and even a decadent spread for warm brioche toast-and-tea on winter weekends.

The best thing is, when sealed correctly, homemade lemon curd lasts up to three months in the refrigerator, making it the ideal long-lasting sweet treat for winter.

We love this recipe from the wonderful Stephanie Alexander, which calls for all the good things in life – egg yolks, sugar, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice. If you have lots of lemons, just double or even triple the recipe.

Preserved Lemons

Another simple and handy way of utilising excess lemons is to preserve them. All you'll need are whole lemons, lemon juice, salt and preserving jars and you can ensure you have lemons to cook with all year round.

Perfect for adding a salty, zesty flavour to savoury recipes from tagines, to salads, soups, grains and dressings you'll have no problem finding things to use your preserved lemons for and they're a great way of ensuring your abundance of winter lemons lasts you all year round.

This recipe from ABCs The Cook and the Chef featuring the Barossa's own preserved lemon queen, Maggie Beer, is really simple and allows you to adjust ratios based on how many lemons you have. Which is good news for anyone with a lemon tree.

Lemon Cordial

Nothing says summer more than an icy cold jug of lemon cordial, so why not plan ahead and make your own this winter, in anticipation for sunnier days.

Another tried and tested recipe from Stephanie Alexander's The Cooks Companion has lots of lemons, sugar and water makes up to two litres of the refreshing summer mixer.