Lemon and other citrus recipes

lemons I have been to see my sister for a long weekend. My sister and her partner live in what I would call old Spain in a small town an hour away from Murcia called Blanca where the only shops you have are mostly food shops with loads of fresh produce.In her very small high street she has 4 bakers,5 greengrocers and 3 delis.

A surprising thing which took my breath away was the amount of fruit left to rot on the trees because the local people only got paid about 3 cents for a kilo to pick and sell them on.It just was not worth their while.Oranges,lemons ,limes ,mandarins and pomagranetes by the acre….Such a waste.I really think there is a future in marmalade.

Lemon and ginger marmalade




This combination of lemon and ginger produces a really zesty preserve,perfect served on toast any time of the day.

1.2kg/2and 1/2 lb lemons

150g/5oz fresh ginger peeled and finely grated.

1.2 litres /2pints water

900g/2lb granulated sugar warmed


  • Quarter and slice the lemons as finely as liked.

  • Tie the pips (seeds) in a piece of muslin and place in the preserving pan with the lemons,ginger & water.

  • Bring to the boil ,cover with a lid & simmer for 2 hours or until the fruit is tender.

  • Remove the muslin bag from the pan ,leave to cool then squeeze over the pan to release all the juice & pectin.

  • Stir in the sugar until dissolved ,then increase the heat and boil for 5 – 10 minutes ,or until setting point has been reached.

  • Remove the pan from the heat & skim off any scum from the surface using a slotted spoon.

  • Leave to cool for 5 minutes,stir, then pour into warmed sterilised jars and seal.

Preserved lemons.


Preserved lemons are an essential part of North African cooking .When I was in Spain my sister had quite a few Moroccan neighbours who all had huge jars of preserved lemons.Salting softens the peel and gives the lemons a stronger flavour so use with discretion.Use these lemons to flavour tagines and couscous or to accompany grilled fish.

1kg/2lb small thin skinned lemons.


350ml lemon or lime juice

1 – 2 tbs olive oil


  • Wash and scrub the lemons,slice each one into quarterslengthways from the point end,leaving the sections still attached at the stem so that they resemble flowers.

  • Gently open each lemon and sprinkle with about a teaspoon of salt and then close up.

  • Pack the lemons tightly into sterilised jars and weigh down.

  • Leave them to stand in a warm place ,preferably on a sunny windowsill for 4 – 5 days.By then some liquid should have accumulated in the jar.

  • Pour the citrus juice into the jar,making sure that the lemons are completely covered.

  • Pour the oil into the top of the jar in a thin layer:this will prevent mould from forming.

  • Seal the jar immediately.The brine should look cloudy at first but will clear in 3 – 4 weeks when the lemons will be ready to eat.

Shelf life for this is 2 years,the pungent pickling liquid can be used to dress salads or to flavour stews.Limes can be preserved in the same way.

Pickled limes


A sharp ,hot pickle from the Punjab in India.This recipe can also be made with lemons or oranges.Serve as a relish or spread over a whole fish or fish fillets before baking.

1kg/2lb limes

100g/4oz salt

1tsp cardamon pods

1tsp black cumin seeds (Kalajeera)

1tsp cumin seeds

half tsp cloves

500g/1lb light brown or white sugar

1 tbs chilli powder (or to taste)

75g/2oz fresh ginger finely shredded


  • Put the limes in a bowl and cover with cold water.Leave to soak overnight,then drain.Top and tail them and cut into slices 5mm/1/4in thick.Put in a glass bowl and sprinkle with the salt.Mix well and cover with a clean cloth and leave to stand for 12 hours.

  • The next day ,place the spices in the spice mill or coffee grinder and grind to a powder.

  • Drain the limes and put the liquid they have produced in a preserving pan with the sugar and ground spices.

  • Bring to the boil,stirring until the sugar has dissolved and boil for 1 minute.Remove from the heat ,stir in the chilli powder and leave to cool.

  • Add the limes to the cooled syrup and mix well.Pack into sterilised jars.

  • Poke the limes with a wooden skewer to ensure there are no air pockets,then seal.

  • Leave in a warm place such as a sunny windowsill for 4 – 5 days before storing.

  • The pickle will be ready in 3 – 4 weeks.

  • Shelf life 2 years.

Lemon curd


This recipe uses less sugar than usual,if you prefer a sweeter curd,increase the quantity up to a third.

Grated rind and juice of 6 lemons

400g/13oz preserving or granulated sugar

150g/5oz butter,softened



  • Put the lemon rind and juice in a small pan with the sugar.Heat gently stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved.Add the butter and stir until melted.

  • Transfer the mixture to a double boiler or a bowl placed over a pan of barely simmering water.

  • Sieve in the eggs and cook very gently,stirring frequently for 25 – 40 minutes until the mixture coats the back of the spoon.

  • Do not allow it to boil or it will curdle.

  • Pour the curd into warm sterilised jars and seal.Allow to cool, then keep refrigerated .

  • Shelf life 3 months refrigerated.

Citrus thyme jelly.


You can vary the sharpness of this jelly by altering the proportions of fruit.Use more oranges and fewer lemons and limes to get a milder ,sweeter tasting jelly.

675g/2lb lemons

675g/2lb limes

450g/1lb oranges

2 bay leaves

2litres and a half pints water.

800g/1 3/4 lb granulated sugar.

60ml/4tbs fresh thyme leaves.


  • Wash the fruit ,then cut into small pieces.Place in a large heavy pan with the bay leaves and pour over the water.

  • Bring the mixture to the boil,then reduce the heat cover and simmer for 1 hour or until pulpy.

  • Discard the bay leaves,then pour the fruit and juices into a sterilised jelly bag suspended over a large bowl.Leave to drain for 3 hours or until the juices stop dripping.

  • Measure the juice into the cleaned pan,adding 450g/1lb sugar for every 600ml/1pt juice.

  • Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.Bring to the boil,then boil rapidly for about 10 minutes or until setting point is reached.Remove the pan from the heat.

  • Skim any scum off the surface,then stir in the thyme leaves.Leave to cool for a few minutes until a thin skin forms,then gently stir again to make sure the thyme is evenly distributed.

  • Pour the jelly into warm sterilised jars,cover and seal when cold.

  • Use withing a year.Once opened store in the fridge and eat within 3 months.

Pomegranate syrup


Making a syrup is a good way to use up soft fruit that is ripe for jams or jellies.Dilute with water to make a drink  or pour over deserts and ice creams.

2kg/4lb very red pomegranates

400g/13oz preserving or granulated sugar

1tsp orange flower water (optional)


  • Cut the pomegranates in half horizontally and use a lemon squeezer to extract all the juice.You should end up with about 500ml /17fl oz juice

  • Filter the juice through a double layer of muslin into a pan.Add the sugar and bring slowqly to the boil,stirring until dissolved.

  • Boil for 10 minutes,then remove from the heat ,skim well and stir in the orange flower water if usaing.Pour the syrup into a hot sterilised bottle and seal.

Candied citrus peel


This recipe is a wonderful way to use citrus peel.Any thick skinned citrus peel can be used,such as orange,grapefruit,lemon and lime.

1kg/2lb citrus peel cut into 5cm/2in strips

1kg /2lb preserving or granulated sugar

350ml/12fl oz water


  • Put the peel in a non corrosive pan with enough water to cover.Bring to the boil ,then simmer for 10 minutes.Drain and discard the cooking fluidand cover with fresh water.Return to the boil,then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.Drain again.

  • Put the cooked peel in a large bowl,cover with cold water and leave for 24 hours.

  • Drain the peel.Put the sugar and water in a pan .Bring to the boil,stirring until the sugar has dissolved.Add the peel,then reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 2 – 3 hours or until the peel is translucent and most of the syrup has b een absorbed.Stir frequently to prevent sticking.

  • To preserve the peel in syrup,spoon the mixture into the jar,then seal

  • Shelf life…. 2 years in syrup.

Lemon and pepper oil


Flavoured oil is all the rage at the moment ,and is expensive.This delicate oil looks great and is very easy to make.I use this to flavour dishes but it is especially good drizzled over a mixed salad.I have recently tried using limes instead of lemons and it works really well.

Makes about 1 pint

zest and juice of 2 lemons

475ml/16fl oz olive oil

freshly cracked pepper


  • In a saucepan,reduce the lemon juice to 1tbs.Add the oil and heat to about 80c/180f,add the pepper and cover the pan.

  • Turn off the heat and leave the oil to cool.

  • Once cold ,whizz in a blender for 30 seconds then pass the oil through a sieve ,pour into a bottle ,add the lemon zest and cork the bottle.

  • It will keep for several weeks.

Chilli Lemonade


Chilli doesn’t just add heat to dishes ,it also adds flavour.This unusual combinationof citrus and spice is a real thirst quencher.The chilli does not overpower the drink but gives the kind of bite like a good ginger beer…and easy to make!

A handful of dried red chillies

1 litre /2 pints water

juice of 3 lemons

juice of 3 limes

sugar to taste.


  • Soak the dried chil;lies in about 250ml/8fl; oz of the water for 10 minutes

  • Add the lemon and lime juice to a large jug and add sugar to taste.Add the remaining water , stir to disolve sugar.

  • Strain the chilli soaking water and add to the jug.

  • Serve with ice cubes.


4 thoughts on “Lemon and other citrus recipes

  1. Oh dear! You have found my deliberate mistake (sorry no prize) The number 33 should not have been there.This thyme jelly is really worth making give it a bash.

  2. Do you if you can can citrus peel? I was thinking about canning the peelings in their own juices and canning via water bath for 10 mins. What are your thoughts?

    • Thanks for your querry.I do not know if you can can citrus,but I suppose it must be possible using a sugar syrup like if you bottle fruit. This is how I dry it for future use….Take a number of oranges , limes or lemons (which should have untreated, pesticide-free skins), and use a fine-bladed paring knife to trim away just the coloured part of the skin, leaving the bitter white part behind. Lay the strips skin-side down on a plate and let them dry at room temperature for 3-4 days, until they have shriveled and are no longer moist. Store the dried peel in a dark place, in a clean jar. To use, either crumble it or whirl it in a blender. You can use the powdered peel in place of extract in baking; in toppings, to flavor sugar-bowl sugar, in spice mixes (e.g. lemon, pepper, rosemary and sage as a barbecue rub), and to flavor sauces of one kind and another.

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