I started the batch of homemade limoncello yesterday. It left me with 17 de-zested lemons and 20 de-zested oranges to use quickly. They won’t store very well without their tough zest to protect them and as you may know I’m not a fan of food-waste. Any move towards a self sufficient life means using every part of everything you can. There should really be no waste in a self sufficient household. So what do you do with 17 lemons?
The oranges were easy – I juiced and refrigerated them for this week’s breakfast orange juice.
The lemons caused more thought but eventually I made a batch of homemade lemon cordial. Most cordial recipes call for powdered citric or tartaric acid. I’m not a fan of buying in more ingredients and as citric acid is just a preservative used in place of lemon juice in many recipes I couldn’t really see the point. The lemon cordial is simple, natural and preserved traditionally so should keep all year.
How To Make Lemon Cordial
Homemade Lemon Cordial Recipe (Lemon Squash Recipe for the Brits)
Ingredients: Lemons and white sugar. The amount of sugar depends on the volume of juice you are able to squeeze from the lemons. Use as many lemons as you like. We used 17 lemons and ended up with a litre of juice and about 1.5 litres of finished cordial.
- Squeeze the juice from the lemons and pour into a measuring jug.
- For every litre of juice add 1.2 kilos of sugar.
- Heat the juice and sugar slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Once the sugar is completely dissolved (test by dipping a wooden spoon in the pan in various places – no sugar crystals should be found on it).
- The cordial is ready for immediate use or sterilising and bottling for storage.
Bottling & Sterilising
This is not as scary as it sounds! You’ll need bottles (or jars) with screw top lids and a large saucepan lined with a small towel.
- Wash the bottles/jars thoroughly and dry in the oven for 15 minutes on very low.
- Now fill the bottles with warm cordial. Tighten all the screw caps then undo 1/2 a turn to allow for expansion of the cordial.
- Put the bottles of cordial in the large pan and fill the pan with warm (not hot) water to come at least 2/3 way up the bottles. You may wish to use cloth or more towels to prevent the bottles knocking each other.
- Very slowly bring the water up to the boil. Boil for 30 minutes.
- Once cool enough to handle tighten all the lids fully.
The process is very straightforward and important to preserve items while preserving their delicate taste. Any fruit in a weak sugar syrup can be preserved in this ‘hot water bath’ method. The fruit or cordial actually cook inside the jar or bottle.
While I’m feeling suitably virtuous about the lack of wasted lemons we still have a few baskets of oranges to consume. We definitely don’t need any more marmalade so I shall be looking out for something else to do with them.
For a more self sufficient future