Making the Best of Lemons in the Summer

By Yasemen Kaner-White

Yasemen Kaner-White shares with us secrets from her book – Lemon Compendium – on how to produce exciting culinary results using lemons.

Storing your lemons in the best possible way

Lemons will stay fresh kept at room temperature, away from exposure to sunlight, for roughly a week. To store for longer, you could keep the lemons in the fridge where they will keep for about a month. Zest can also be stored for later use. Dried lemon zest is best stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight glass container.

Obtaining the juice more efficiently

You can either use a reamer, juicer or indeed squeeze by hand. Lemons significantly produce more juice when warm, so best to keep them at room temperature. Rolling them under the palm of your hand on a table will help to extract more juice. Instead of removing any visible seeds before juicing the halves, wait until after the process is complete, as seeds normally sit deep inside the fruit and therefore are not visible on the surface, this will save you a lot of time digging for them.

When zesting, it is always good practice to use unwaxed lemons in any case, as they are more organic while waxed lemons often contain more pesticides. To zest, after washing and drying the lemon, use a zester, fine grater, paring knife or vegetable peeler to remove the zest. Careful not to include the white bitter pith directly under the zest.

Top Three Tips when Using Lemons

First, drizzle over some freshly squeezed lemon juice to liven up your dry cake.

Second, freshen the air organically. Cut a lemon in half and remove the pulp, fill the empty shell with some salt, and place it at the back of your fridge to keep it fresh. To prevent it from tipping over, cut the bottom across to give a level surface, and then place on a small dish. The salt absorbs the stale and nasty odours, releasing a lemon fragrance.

Third, make your own utilitarian lemon slices to produce a terrific garnish. Just cut unpeeled fruit into 2mm thick slices, discarding the ends. Place on a large wire rack on a baking sheet and dry in an 80°C oven for 4 hours. Remove from the oven to air-dry. They can be used as a Christmas decoration, added to a bowel of potpourri, or dropped into stews and soups for a tangy addition,. Candied slices can be made by soaking dried slices in two parts honey to one part water, allowing to dry again, repeat this process a few times.

Sparkling Lemon Sorbet Recipe

It is a traditional Venetian treat. It serves 3 to 4 people and is made with the following ingredients:

1 litre of good quality lemon sorbet/ice cream

1 bottle of lemonade

3–4 strawberries

Remove the sorbet from the freezer and allow it to soften for about 10 minutes. Put half of the sorbet into a blender, pouring half of the sparkling wine over it and blend well. Put in the rest of the wine and sorbet blend until frothy. Decant into chilled wine glasses and garnish each glass with a fresh strawberry. Serve immediately.

Candied Citron & Lemon Cookies

My buttery, crumbly cookies with a zing are always a firm favourite, a well-received treat when visiting friends. The ingredients you need are the following:

115g of butter

35g caster sugar

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

30g candied lemon peel, thinly sliced

30g candied citron peel, thinly sliced

125g of plain flour

40g of corn flour

Half a teaspoon of baking powder

A pinch of salt

Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Mix in egg yolks, vanilla, lemon and citron peels.

Next combine the plain and corn flours, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add in the butter mixture and mix until it just begins to combine. Shape into two even logs. Cover tightly in greaseproof paper, and put into the fridge for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas 3. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Slice the logs into 1cm thick rounds and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to wire racks, allowing to cool before distributing with love.

With lots of “Lemony” Love,