Dealing with a (really) local agricultural surplus.

Jan 08 2007 Published by under Personal

I've been wanting to blog all weekend, but instead I've been making (and canning) lemon curd and lemon marmalade. It was either that or the Free-Ride family was going to have to face down an Exodus-scale plague of lemons.

The batch of lemon marmalade consumed 12 lemons (plus 6 cups of sugar and 24 hours), while the batch of lemon curd used up a mere 4 lemons (and a cup of sugar, 5 eggs, and a stick of butter). After the labor involved in this round of lemon processing, I can give a detailed account of the location of every tiny cut and scrape on either of my hands.
Notice all those not-yet-consumed lemons in the background? That's just the tip of the lemon iceberg.

These are the additional picked lemons waiting in the relatively cool shed.

And the branches of our lone lemon tree are still heavy with fruit waiting to be picked.
Any suggestions for what we should be doing with all these lemons? (We're not going to huck 'em at cars, thanks.) I'm most interested in things we could do with the lemons that involve a relatively high proportion of lemon to other ingredients. Or if there's a way to harness the lemons to heat our home or fuel a car, that would also be good.

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  • Breena Ronan says:

    Yum! Why not make lemon juice and stick in it the freezer? Then in the summer you could have lemonade. We have lemon trees around here, but not enough for all the people that want lemons.

  • Bob says:

    My wife is a chef and she has the following suggestions.
    1) Juice them and freeze the juice, then use it throughout the year.
    2) make lemon bars (delicious)
    3) make lemon citron
    4) marmalade (which you've done)
    5) preserved lemons (like they do in the middle east)
    6) lemonade (of course)
    7) make italian lemon ice (my personal favorite if you have an ice cream maker)

  • Bob O'H says:

    Hmm, some sour faces in your household, then?
    I'm thinking that some lemons will appear in a Friday sprog blog: anything as acidic as a lemon has to be able to do something interesting. Make an electric car?

  • Hsien Lei says:

    Ohhh. I'm so envious! I would take a big bag off your hands if I were anywhere near. Although if I were near you, I'd hope to have a big lemon tree of my own!
    As for lemon curd, the name is rather off putting. I was gifted a jar and still haven't opened it yet.

  • Parkrrrr says:

    Shipping lemons to your devoted readers in more benighted climes would have an infinite lemons-to-other-ingredients ratio, and might even be marginally profitable. Provided there's no law against shipping uninspected fruit across state lines, of course.

  • ArtK says:

    I'll second Bob's suggestion of Middle Eastern-type preserved lemons -- we've made them and use them frequently in things like chicken tagine. There's a version preserved with sugar rather than salt that we've used for desserts.
    Lemon science: Secret writing is a good experiment.

  • Uncle Fishy says:

    When life gives you lemons you make Sidecars of course:
    1 part VS cognac (nothing too pricy)
    1 part Cointreau (we use Citronage, half the price at TJs instead)
    1 part lemon juice
    shake with ice until cold and strain into a cocktail glasses with sugared rims.
    I'd like to advise not freezing the juice. It never has that same kick (especially for cocktails) after.

  • Super Sally says:

    Try juggling. I dare you to post a video clip.

  • chezjake says:

    Besides freezing juice, I'd be tempted to try freezing lemon zest or even just preserving it covered in a nice bland oil. The zest or just a few drops of the oil could make an interesting addition to all kinds of veggie dishes.
    If you can find old-fashioned stick candy, a wonderful (and slightly more healthy) treat for sprogs is sucking the juice of a fresh lemon through a stick candy "straw."
    This recipe for Candied Orange Peel will also work just as well with lemon (or grapefruit):,1977,FOOD_9936_24637,00.html

  • chezjake says:

    Almost forgot, here's an idea that should appeal to your chemistry side - make Honey Lemon Mead, which is fairly traditional in Scandinavia.
    It's really good. Just don't drink a lot at once, the sugar content can lead to a nasty hangover.

  • Michele says:

    Lemon loaf is always good. Or lemon pudding cake (takes about 4 lemons per cake).
    A good household use is to cut them up and use them in your garbage disposal.

  • These ideas are sounding good -- how about some recipes (or links to recipes)?

  • Bob says:

    This looks like a good Italian Ice recipe. There are a lot of variations out there.
    For a lemon bars recipe my wife uses the one in the new joy of cooking. It's a really good one if you have the book.

  • Super Sally says:

    Aunt Molly recommends Lemon Meringue Pie.
    Recall that the day my letter came from our Alma Mater, I was out, and O.J. was dying to open it but knew she couldn't. So she kept busy all day until my evening return by baking, including a dozen individual L.M. tarts. All came out Okay, the tarts and the letter.

  • RMD says:

    Maybe the Sprogs could be tasked with another gardening project: digging a root cellar. What are kids for anyway, if not more hands around the farm?
    My parents' neighbors back home in NJ gave my parents a bottle of homemade limoncello for Christmas. I don't have their original formula, passed down from the Old Country through generations of suburban Italians. But all the recipes online require 12-15 lemons.
    Of course, we will happily trade a grocery bag of your sours for a bag of our Meyers...