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When Life Gives You Lemons…

This topic contains 17 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  Mitch 3 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #176856

    SecretGarden916
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    It’s that time of year when the lemon tree in the yard is beyond laden with fruit. The branches are bending with the weight of the lemons and practically scrapping the ground beneath. I look forward to this harvest every year and I like how it comes in well after most of the rest of the garden is done producing. Now I can turn my full attention to putting up the lemon harvest. And with frost on the forecast, looks like I better get busy with finishing up what’s still out on the tree.

    We grow everything organically, and this harvest is one of the best I’ve ever had. I wonder it it has something to do with the worm castings we put down this past summer?

    I picked what seemed like a lot of lemons last week. After I’d been outside in the cold for a while picking lemons off the tree one by one I decided the tree needed pruning. Made for faster work outside and a quick escape back into the warmth of the kitchen. blogger-image-253294227.jpg blogger-image-131089580.jpg

    I started with juicing. Do you know I still have the juicer I brought with me to college 35 years ago. Gosh I wish they still made appliances like they used to. I juiced and I juiced and I juiced. Fresh squeezed juice should be used within a few days, even if stored in the refrigerator. It’s not pasteurized and can develope bacteria. So all this juice needed to be bagged and frozen.

    I bagged it in 1 cup amounts, I bagged it in 2 cup amounts, and I bagged up little blocks of 3Tbls amounts by using ice cube trays. These are great for throwing in a pot of food on the stove for that lemon zing I love. Good thing I have an extra freezer in the garage. I bagged 30+ cups of juice and 48 cubes.

    Next I worked on the rinds to make lemon vodka. Remember I grow my lemons organically so our rinds are totally safe for infusions. I do not recommend doing this if you spray pesticides or fertilizers on your trees. blogger-image--790651118.jpg

    I cut the rinds into sections and removed as much of the membrane and pith as possible. Then I filled mason jars full of lemon sections and added vodka. It’s that simple. You don’t need to be fancy and go top shelf, but don’t do bargain brand either as cheap vodka will always be cheap vodka! I used Sky for this batch. 3 weeks of infusion should do the trick. Taste after 3 weeks and see how you like it. Once the lemon flavor is strong enough for your liking, strain through cheesecloth to remove any residue. Celebrate your cleverness and make yourself a lemon drop martini! Bottle up what’s left for later or if you’re really nice, put some up for gifts.

    If you run out of vodka before you run out of lemon rind like I did, then next you can make Lemon/Rosemary household cleaner. Another easy infusion. Just fill your mason jars with lemon rind and sprigs of fresh rosemary. The best lemon scent comes from the oils in the peels, so pack in as many rinds as you can fit in the jar. The Rosemary makes a nice partner. 2-3 weeks of infusion and it’s ready to strain. I store it at full strength and then dilute with water for an excellent all purpose cleanser for counter tops, floors, stove top and more. Vinegar is an all natural anti-bacterial and I like using it better than harsh chemicals in my home. It also makes an excellent carpet and fabric stain remover when mixed with baking soda.

    Still have peels? Then next you can dehydrate them in your oven. It takes an hour or two at 200 degrees and you want to make sure they are completely dry before removing. I loved how the peels turned orange as they dried. The dehydrated peels can be ground coarsely with pepper and then added to salt to make your own lemon pepper seasoning. Or grind them to a fine powder to make an excellent citric powder. The powder is very high in vitamin c and adds a citrus wallup to your morning smoothie.

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    So there you go. I’ve been at it for days and I still have half the tree to go! But it’s so worth the work as I’ll have home grown, fresh lemon juice for a year until the next harvest. Just imagine the lemon bars, the lemon merangue pies, the lemonade! Would you like to be able to do this too? It’s never too late to plant your own lemon tree and even potted trees will produce well. Visit me at The Secret Garden if you have any questions about getting started.
    Jennifer
    http://www.secretgarden-online.com
    http://www.facebook.com/secretgarden916

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  • #290331

    Birdofparadise
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    This is amazing Jennifer! Fantastic ideas! I’m intrigued but don’t know when I’d find all the time and patience. I think I’ll consider planting a tree. I just love lemons and would like to try some of your ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  • #290341

    Mitch
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    Love the ideas…thank you!

  • #290325

    newmom
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    “….but don’t do bargain brand either as cheap vodka will always be cheap vodka!” Wise words to live by.

    But really-thanks and wow-those are some great ideas. I would love to be a friend and get some organic lemon vodka.

    I have a fabulous recipe for a lemon tart if you are interested. It’s very easy but very decadent and people taste it and think I slaved over it. Your lemons would be fabulous in it.

  • #290326

    violarose
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    Wow! Thanks for sharing.! Can you imagine a Lemon Drop with your lemons, mmm

  • #290327

    party-of-six
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    Mmmm…I love lemon anything. I need to plant some lemon trees again. I have one but it’s never produced fruit 🙁

  • #290333

    SecretGarden916
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    @birdofparadise 121367 wrote:

    This is amazing Jennifer! Fantastic ideas! I’m intrigued but don’t know when I’d find all the time and patience. I think I’ll consider planting a tree. I just love lemons and would like to try some of your ideas. Thanks for sharing!

    You should definitely consider planting a tree, even if it has to live in a container. We are so lucky to live in this zone where we CAN have our own citrus. Growing up in Montreal, Canada and having to wait for a gift box of lemons and oranges from our relatives in Florida taught me to appreciate how special it is to have them right in your own backyard!

  • #290334

    SecretGarden916
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    @violarose 121395 wrote:

    Wow! Thanks for sharing.! Can you imagine a Lemon Drop with your lemons, mmm

    Oh yes, my dear Violarose, that’s the very first thing I make with my lemon infused vodka!

  • #290335

    SecretGarden916
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    @newmom – I would LOVE your lemon tart recipe! Please do post! This time of year it’s all about the lemons! As for the infused vodka, usually we do an infusion workshop in January and I teach everyone how to make (and sample). I get some ribbing about what this has to do with a garden store, but hey, alcohol is simply a great use of botany knowledge! Be sure to sign up for our emails and hopefully you can join in the next one.

  • #290336

    SecretGarden916
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    @party-of-six 121411 wrote:

    Mmmm…I love lemon anything. I need to plant some lemon trees again. I have one but it’s never produced fruit 🙁

    hmmm, ok well it could be a few things….hours of sunlight are important – at least 6-8; and knowing what variety you have could help you too.

  • #290328

    SteveB6509
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    Thanks for all the ideas. I am drowning in lemons!

  • #290332

    wildoates
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    I can smell the lemons from here!

  • #290337

    SecretGarden916
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    @steveb6509 121423 wrote:

    Thanks for all the ideas. I am drowning in lemons!

    Get squeezing Steve! Pruned fingers are a worthwhile ailment for all the deliciousness!!

  • #290329

    Ila
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    My lemons are still sort of green, not really ripe yet 🙁

  • #290338

    SecretGarden916
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    @ila 121440 wrote:

    My lemons are still sort of green, not really ripe yet 🙁

    Different varieties will ripen at different times. Fear not, soon you’ll be juicing away!

  • #290324

    kermit
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    Thanks Jennifer for the tips. I have a tree ready for picking and was thinking of canning some. I might make lemon vodka!

  • #290330

    ryball
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    Thanks for all the ideas! I’m going to have to try that last one. 🙂

  • #290339

    SecretGarden916
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    You won’t be disappointed! I just took it up a notch and made Lemoncello – DELISH!

  • #290340

    SecretGarden916
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    @ryball 122218 wrote:

    Thanks for all the ideas! I’m going to have to try that last one. 🙂

    Go for it! No scurvy for you!

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