Seasonal Bounty: Lemons

Seasonal Bounty: Lemons

Our pick of the crop for cool citrus recipes

It’s not just beautiful birds appearing in Kiwi gardens at this time of year. After the recent growing season there is now also an abundance of delicious lemons to enjoy.

Tart, tasty and packed with tons of vitamin C, the humble lemon is plentiful and cheap right now — and they’re more versatile than people think. So stack up the trolley on your next supermarket trip (or fill the basket from the backyard tree) and get preserving and preparing. Here is a zesty list of our favourite lemon-leaning recipes…

  • Preserved lemons

Salty, punchy preserved lemons are a cornerstone of Middle Eastern cuisine. They go well with chickpeas or lentils as well as lamb and chicken, adding an intense tartness without the sour tang of a fresh lemon. Chopping them finely into a potato salad is a great way to liven up the earthy flavour.

Best-selling chef Yotam Ottolenghi also uses them liberally in his recipes. A favourite of ours is his citrusy take on the classic Sunday roast: Spring Roast Chicken with Preserved Lemon.

Another recipe in which preserved lemons take basic flavours to a whole new level is Eleanor Cripps’ Braised Lentils. It is impressive as it is easy, and makes a good side dish or a light main meal. Making a pot during the weekend will sort weekday lunches or perhaps fill the freezer for future dinner emergencies.

Making preserved lemons is as easy as cutting the lemons, salting them generously and then squishing them into a sterilised jar. Follow thisNZlife's easy-as instructions for preparing them and you’ll be ready to try some new recipes.. Oh, and feel smug when you walk past the bought ones in the supermarket and see the price!


  • Lemon Yoghurt Cake with Rosemary

 The slightly spicy hint of rosemary makes this cake slightly polarising in some households. We think it’s worth a mention for its dreamy, fluffy texture and the Mediterranean scent that fills the house while it’s baking. You can find the recipe at Homegrown Happiness


  • Lemon Delicious

There’s nothing like a pudding that delivers exactly what the name promises. In our opinion, this beauty is right up there with Sticky Toffee Pudding and Upside Down Cake in New Zealand’s Pudding Hall of Fame. A slightly mythical pudding that some New Zealanders will recall from a distant fad in the 1980s and 90s, this golden girl promises melt-in-your-mouth winter comfort.

 Nadia Lim is also a fan, and has created a quick and easy recipe that uses cupboard basics. Thanks Nadia!


    Other options:

    • Sock them away for cocktail hour. Slice lemons into rounds and freeze in ziplock bags or small containers. Whip them out for a summertime gin cocktail when lemon prices are sky-high!


    • Squeeze and freeze. Forget the bottled stuff - for a good salad dressing you can’t beat fresh lemon juice. By freezing the juice in a spare ice cube tray you can stockpile it cheaply for the summer salad season. Just defrost and blend with a little mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper for a classic salad dressing.


    • Make a beautiful garnish. Slice the lemons into rounds. Place on a tray lined with baking paper and dehydrate them in the oven. 3 - 4 hours at the lowest possible temperature will be enough to dry them… pretty for decorating cakes, cocktails and cheese boards. These will keep in a sealed jar for about a month, and it’s nice to combine other citrus like oranges, limes and grapefruit to create a range of sizes and colours.


    backyard bounty NZ Made recipe