Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Lemon tree, with an orange and mandarin in the background

When we moved here, the only productive plant on the whole property was one lemon tree. One.
It’s not a big tree, but it’s incredibly productive. This year the tree is laden with enormous lemons that I have to make sure are kept separate from the grapefruit we pick, because it’s very easy to mistake a lemon for a grapefruit, and vice versa.
What to do with all these lemons?
Well, when life gives you lemons, make limoncello.
Limoncello is a lemon-flavoured liqueur that is yummy straight or on ice as a digestive. It’s also nice on ice-cream. I make it with grappa, an alcohol made from the wine pressings, but you could use vodka. Here’s how you do it:


8 lemons, fully ripe with bright yellow skin
1 litre grappa
400g sugar

Peel the lemons, leaving behind any white pith. Place it in a sterilised jar with the grappa, and leave it at least two months, even more if you can.
Then place the sugar in a saucepan with 2 cups water and over a high heat dissolve. Once it reaches boiling point, lower the heat to medium and let the sugar and water bubble away until it becomes thick and syrupy. Let the sugar syrup cool completely and add to the jar. Leave it for another couple of months. Strain into sterilised bottles and drink.

While we’re in the orchard, here are some of the other trees. All these trees were planted in spring 2003, so they are six years old.

These mandarins still have a way to go until they are ready. This tree has been developing slowly. This is the best crop we've had so far.

Blood oranges. Hmmm, pretty small. Maybe we should knock some off next year, so they can grow to a bigger size?

1 comment:

Sincerely, Emily said...

YUMMY. I really miss the citrus trees that were in our yard (and all the neighbor's too) when we lived in Palm Springs, CA. No citrus where we are now, doesn't do real well in this area and boy do I miss it. Enjoy yours!! thanks for the great recipe and photos.Emily