When Life Gives You Lemons………

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………….make lemonade, or in my case, lemon cordial.

It is winter and the time of year when the citrus trees are absolutely laden.  The branches are groaning with the weight of luscious fruit waiting to be harvested.

We have 2 lemon and 3 orange trees as well as a lime, grapefruit and a mandarin.  One lemon and one orange were here when we came but we have planted the others.  The original lemon tree is a Meyer variety which is actually a cross between a lemon and an orange.  This variety is particularly suited to the warmer, more humid climate of coastal Queensland.

The tree is only quite small and looks very ordinary, to the point where we think that each year may be the last.  Here it is with the few remaining fruit after I had picked most of them.

However, it keeps bearing amazing fruit.  Unlike other lemon varieties, you cannot leave the fruit on the tree once it is mature as it does not last and tends to spoil.

Late one afternoon when I was in the vegie patch picking some produce for dinner, I noticed that the lemons were very ripe – skin tends to turn to a golden yellow and a few were starting to fall from the tree.  It was time to harvest the lemons and I picked almost all of the fruit from the tree – 117 lemons!!

It is times like this that I am very thankful for technology.  I could not imagine squeezing all of them by hand.   There were about 6 buckets of lemons which yielded 11 litres of juice which is about 100ml per lemon.

My food processor with juicer attachment.

My lemon cordial recipe is an adaptation of the one with was originally given to me by my mother-in-law.  I have adjusted the recipe over the years and have reduced the amount of sugar as well as taking out various preservatives such as sodium benzoate.  What I am left with is lemon juice and sugar and I am very happy with the result.

Since the recipe has no preservatives I err on the side of caution and store it in the refrigerator and make about 2 litres of cordial at a time.  Modern appliances come to the rescue yet again as I store the excess juice in the freezer until required to make another batch of cordial.  Do not try freezing the cordial as it does not stay properly frozen, probably due to the high sugar content.  I freeze my juice in 2 litre ice-cream containers which easily hold 1.5 litres of juice with a little headspace.


1.5 litres of lemon juice

750g sugar

Mix together until the sugar has dissolved.

Pour into bottle and store in refrigerator.

I choose to use raw sugar so my cordial is quite a dark, but not unpleasant colour.

Use within 3 months.

Mix 1 part of cordial with 4-5 parts of water,

We use this cordial mixed with soda water made with the Soda Stream soft drink maker to create an excellent substitute for bought soft drink.  This is what we serve at functions and special occasions.

As an added bonus, there are no plastic bottles generated in this process.

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