Friday, 9 August 2019

Lemon Harvest - Hot Toddies and Handy Hints.

It's lemon harvest time again and I am in my happy place.  I have always loved lemons and any recipe that includes them.  I love lemon honey, lemon syrup, lemon cake, lemon toddies, lemon in salad dressings, lemon squeezed over fish and preserved lemons.  Yes, I think it's pretty clear I love lemons.  I even love looking at them on the tree, so bright and cheerful. When I was young I used to eat lemons straight off the  tree but I wouldn't recommend doing that, it is not good for the teeth.

Unfortunately New Zealand has fallen victim to a nasty Australian pest called the guava moth which arrived here a few years back and is gradually making its way all over the country.  The guava moth attacks many different fruits by drilling a small hole into them and laying an egg which grows into a larva inside the fruit. It's pretty unpleasant to cut open a fruit and find a worm wriggling around inside.  The guava moth seems to love feijoas and last season ruined the crops of all my neighbours' who had previously enjoyed bumper harvests. As a usual recipient of their generosity I was pretty disappointed. Unfortunately the moths also like citrus fruit. The best way to protect a crop is to cover the tree completely in an insect cloth, which is what I did to my lemon tree this year.  I am pleased to say it worked and not only was my huge crop of lemons insect free but the fruit was massive, the biggest it has ever been.  Whether this was to do with the fertiliser I gave the tree or whether the insect cloth gave it a slightly hot house effect I don't know.

At this stage there is no spray that can be used to protect the fruit from the moth although New Zealand agricultural scientists are working on developing one.  In their home land of Australia the moths are controlled by natural predators which we do not have here.

Anyway, enough about the unwelcome visitor to our shores.  On a brighter note here's one of my favourite  lemon recipes.


Fresh ginger - about 100 gms
1 Cup of water
1 Cup of lemon juice
1 Cup of honey

Peel and grate the ginger and put in a pot with the cup of water.  Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. You can strain the ginger out of the liquid if you wish but I prefer to leave it in. Just remember to stir or shake the syrup when you use it.
Add the honey and the lemon juice to the pot and heat gently until the honey is dissolved. Cool, bottle and keep in the fridge.
To use place 2 or 3 tablespoons of the syrup in a cup and top with boiling water.  This is a comforting drink for winter of if you have a cold.  All the ingredients have healing and soothing qualities....and it's delicious.

I have kept this syrup in the fridge for up to a year.

Click on the following link to find More lemon recipes from a previous post

HANDY HINTS: Don't throw away skins of lemons you have juiced, freeze them to ensure you always have lemon zest on hand.  They can be grated frozen.

I also freeze the juice mixed with zest into ice block trays and once it is frozen bag it free flow. I have worked out how many cubes make one whole lemon's worth of juice but each ice block tray is different so I suggest you check out yours. I have then marked the free flow bag with the number of cubes to a lemon.

Happy juicing, baking and preserving everyone!  

I'm now off traveling for a few weeks. hopefully collecting new stories to tell! 😎