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Tons of lemons — what to do?

SouthToTheLeft Feb 27, 2011 07:31 PM

Hey everyone,

I woke up this morning to bags and bags of lemons from my neighbor's lemon trees. I have no idea what to do with them! What would you do if you suddenly got 10 pounds of free lemons?


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  1. TheHuntress RE: SouthToTheLeft Feb 27, 2011 07:34 PM


    1. s
      sedimental RE: SouthToTheLeft Feb 27, 2011 07:46 PM

      +1 on the limoncello. I would also make preserved lemons. Several kinds of them- from regular to spicy ones.

      1. goodhealthgourmet RE: SouthToTheLeft Feb 27, 2011 07:47 PM



        1. Windy RE: SouthToTheLeft Feb 27, 2011 07:48 PM

          Lemon curd? Or invite your friends over.

          Lemon juice and lemonade freeze well. We had lime trees when I was growing up, and we used to freeze the juice in ice cube trays.

          1. Jay F RE: SouthToTheLeft Feb 27, 2011 08:02 PM

            Lemon curd

            4 Replies
            1. re: Jay F
              SouthToTheLeft RE: Jay F Feb 27, 2011 08:39 PM

              How long does lemon curd hold?

              1. re: SouthToTheLeft
                sunshine842 RE: SouthToTheLeft Feb 27, 2011 10:50 PM

                You can it, just like jam or jelly.

                1. re: sunshine842
                  Caitlin McGrath RE: sunshine842 Feb 28, 2011 12:48 PM

                  I have always understood that, due to the eggs and butter, lemon curd does not have high-enough acid content and is not considered safe for hot water bath canning, but must be pressure canned. However, it freezes well!

                2. re: SouthToTheLeft
                  Jay F RE: SouthToTheLeft Feb 28, 2011 03:56 PM

                  A couple of days.

              2. e
                escondido123 RE: SouthToTheLeft Feb 27, 2011 08:10 PM

                I had the same thing happen a couple of weeks ago when a friend was going away for a few weeks and decided to pick all her Meyer lemons. All the suggestions you got were great, but my best is to tell you neighbor there is no reason to pick them all they can stay on the tree. I have a Meyer lemon that has ripe fruit starting in January and I'm still picking in the fall with great flavor. It sets fruit more than one time so they are not ripe all at once. All I can say is don't throw away the peel, grate it fine and dry it at the very least. Good luck.

                1 Reply
                1. re: escondido123
                  SouthToTheLeft RE: escondido123 Feb 27, 2011 08:40 PM

                  I know! But the guy has five trees in his backyard, I think this is just an opening volley of lemons to come.

                2. q
                  Querencia RE: SouthToTheLeft Feb 27, 2011 08:20 PM

                  1-Juice them and freeze the juice. 2-Give thanks. In Chicago they cost a dollar apiece.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Querencia
                    SouthToTheLeft RE: Querencia Feb 27, 2011 08:39 PM

                    As for number two, trust me, I know. I'm originally from the Frozen East myself.

                    1. re: Querencia
                      goodhealthgourmet RE: Querencia Feb 27, 2011 09:21 PM

                      ouch! even at places like Trader Joe's?

                    2. Hank Hanover RE: SouthToTheLeft Feb 27, 2011 09:36 PM

                      On another thread, there is a conversation about making your own citrus powder and what you can do with it... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/748894.

                      Check that out.

                      1. chefathome RE: SouthToTheLeft Feb 28, 2011 09:27 AM

                        Love the limencello idea. In addition , I would definitely make preserved lemons, lemon syrup, preserves such as caramelized onion and lemon, sweet Indian lemon pickles, and so on.

                        Would also use the (dried) zest to make seasoning blends such as lemon rosemary salt or lemon pepper.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: chefathome
                          lilgi RE: chefathome Feb 28, 2011 09:33 AM

                          Definitely preserved lemons! So useful for cooking. Just preserved some Meyer lemons too.

                        2. chef chicklet RE: SouthToTheLeft Feb 28, 2011 09:32 AM

                          I have the same dilema! However watching Giada, her Aunt Raffy came up with something different that would work for me. She slices them very thin on her meat slicer (I have a mandoline) and then she dries them in her dehydrator. I've finally a reason to pull mine off the shelf! She uses them for tea during the months when lemons aren't around.
                          Also preserved lemons is another way to go.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chef chicklet
                            goodhealthgourmet RE: chef chicklet Feb 28, 2011 03:25 PM

                            However watching Giada, her Aunt Raffy came up with something different that would work for me. She slices them very thin on her meat slicer (I have a mandoline) and then she dries them in her dehydrator.
                            chicklet, have you seen our discussion about dried citrus powders?


                          2. s
                            sparkareno RE: SouthToTheLeft Feb 28, 2011 09:58 AM

                            FYI--you can pop whole lemons in the freezer...no need to juice them first. In fact they are much easier to juice when they have been frozen because all their little cell walls have been broken. You can't really zest them after freezing as they are too soft.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: sparkareno
                              bear RE: sparkareno Mar 4, 2011 02:35 AM

                              Great tip. Thanks! I wonder if you could zest them first, since you only take off the thin top yellow layer, and then put them in a ziploc? I've frozen leftover zest for a short time before with good results.

                              1. re: bear
                                sparkareno RE: bear Mar 4, 2011 09:30 AM

                                I don't see why not. That's a good idea. When you defrost the lemons (sometimes I have to nuke them), they are pretty soft anyway---you can't really use them for nice wedges or slices. I sometimes don't even bother with the ziploc--just toss the whole thing in. I am going to try zesting some next time.

                            2. monku RE: SouthToTheLeft Feb 28, 2011 04:22 PM

                              "If life deals you lemons, make lemonade"

                              (sorry, I tried to hold off as long as possible)

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: monku
                                goodhealthgourmet RE: monku Feb 28, 2011 06:44 PM

                                ...and try to find someone whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.

                              2. jmcarthur8 RE: SouthToTheLeft Mar 1, 2011 02:07 PM

                                This is a Martha Stewart recipe that I made a few years ago, and have been having a hankering for lately. It is so good and creamy and tart. Makes me pucker just thinking about it.

                                Rich Lemon Ice Cream

                                {makes 1 quart}

                                2 large eggs
                                4 large egg yolks
                                1 1/4 cups sugar
                                3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (Martha says 5, took me 4 juicy ones)
                                1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
                                1 1/4 cups heavy cream
                                1 cup milk (I used whole)

                                1. Prepare an ice-water bath (a big bowl of ice and water). In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest.
                                2. Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly until the mixture coats the back of the spoon, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in the cream and milk. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve or cheescloth-lined strainer into a clean bowl set over the ice-water bath to chill.
                                3. Transfer the chilled mixture to an ice-cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jmcarthur8
                                  SouthToTheLeft RE: jmcarthur8 Mar 2, 2011 04:13 PM

                                  That sounds good! I just need to buy an ice cream maker, then!

                                2. ladooShoppe RE: SouthToTheLeft Mar 2, 2011 06:01 PM

                                  What a nice neighbour you have!

                                  Limoncello for sure; maybe a lemon sorbet or garnita?

                                  I remember throwing a baby shower for a friend a few years ago and the theme color was yellow. Of course, another girl brought over dozens of lemons as "decoration". I kept a bunch for myself and made lemon sorbet and a bunch of candied lemon peel for my colleagues. The girl who brought over the lemons saw me putting a wedge in my glass of water and said, "oh! I love lemon in my water. And to think I'd been going to restaurants for that." True story.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: ladooShoppe
                                    SouthToTheLeft RE: ladooShoppe Mar 3, 2011 10:48 PM

                                    You know how hard it is to cut lemons these days...

                                    Any good lemon sorbet recipes?

                                    1. re: SouthToTheLeft
                                      sunshine842 RE: SouthToTheLeft Mar 4, 2011 12:39 AM

                                      (I'm going to run with the idea that she just doesn't think about doing it when she's at home.)

                                      1. re: SouthToTheLeft
                                        nothingswrong RE: SouthToTheLeft Mar 4, 2011 03:51 AM

                                        Don't have a lemon sorbet recipe, but have been on a big granita kick lately. Just mix water, pureed fruit pulp and sugar and freeze, scraping with fork every 20-30 minutes so it's like a snow cone. You can also add herbs or other extra flavors (rosemary, lavender, mint, etc.) but with only 3 ingredients, these make tasty and fresh-tasting desserts or snacks. Easy as could be...

                                        1. re: SouthToTheLeft
                                          suebell RE: SouthToTheLeft Jul 4, 2014 04:13 PM

                                          The Silver Palate cookbook has a good and simple sorbet recipe I use every year to help a friend whose trees are prolific. I add a smidge of vanilla, use a little less sugar, once added mint (yum) and this year added lavender (double yum).

                                          1. re: SouthToTheLeft
                                            nosh RE: SouthToTheLeft Jul 4, 2014 05:29 PM

                                            Just google lemon sorbet recipes. They are all fairly similar -- lemon zest, lemon juice, and simple syrup. I've used the one from Emeril and it worked out fine.

                                        2. b
                                          bear RE: SouthToTheLeft Mar 4, 2011 02:36 AM

                                          Ina Garten's lemon cake is quite good, and would take care of a few of those puppies.


                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: bear
                                            TroyTempest RE: bear Mar 4, 2011 09:24 AM

                                            but, remember, it only works with "good" lemons.

                                            1. re: TroyTempest
                                              bear RE: TroyTempest Mar 4, 2011 09:40 AM

                                              Hah. That's true. Wouldn't want those low-brow lemons.

                                          2. s
                                            SouthToTheLeft RE: SouthToTheLeft Mar 18, 2011 08:51 PM

                                            So I've made tons of lemon bars, and still lemons remain. In the interest of my waist line, does anyone have ideas for non-sweet things to do with the lemons?

                                            Perhaps lemon chicken? Good recipes for that?

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: SouthToTheLeft
                                              karenfinan RE: SouthToTheLeft Mar 18, 2011 09:05 PM

                                              I remember a recipe by Nigella Larsen for a lemony chicken. I am going on memory, but cut up one chicken, cut up 3 lemons into chunks ( 8ths) mix in baking dish with olive oil and salt and pepper and several peeled garlic cloves. Bake uncovered at 250 f. yes 250, not 350- for 3 hours. The chicken gets infused with the lemon, and it is really good.
                                              Lemon chutney is also great, I am hooked on it. I make it with a combo of lemons and limes, it is so good with any meat, eggs, anything really!

                                              1. re: karenfinan
                                                SouthToTheLeft RE: karenfinan Mar 18, 2011 09:07 PM

                                                Oh! Lemon chutney is a great idea!

                                                1. re: SouthToTheLeft
                                                  goodhealthgourmet RE: SouthToTheLeft Mar 18, 2011 09:25 PM

                                                  if you've got some time on your hands, how about lemon marmalade? or preserved lemons?

                                                  - lemon rice (use the juice and the zest) with garlic, pepper, fresh herbs, & grated parm...you can even fold in some chopped roasted asparagus.
                                                  - roast them and serve with chicken or fish.
                                                  - lemon also plays really well with capers - piccata, anyone?

                                                  here's a link with some ideas for savory dishes:

                                              2. re: SouthToTheLeft
                                                bear RE: SouthToTheLeft Mar 19, 2011 05:37 AM

                                                How about Rao's Lemon Chicken? Here's an older post. When I made it, two of us loved it and one thought it was way too lemony.

                                                Here's an older post about it:


                                                Here's another link to the recipe:


                                              3. hhc RE: SouthToTheLeft Mar 19, 2011 05:10 PM

                                                sausage, chard, lemon lasagna:

                                                1. j
                                                  jlafler RE: SouthToTheLeft Mar 19, 2011 05:40 PM

                                                  If you make lemonade and freeze it, keep in mind that you don't have to fully dilute it. I mix the juice and simple syrup, freeze in pint containers, and then defrost and dilute as needed with water when I want lemonade.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: jlafler
                                                    MellieMag RE: jlafler Mar 19, 2011 06:30 PM

                                                    I would have to eat some of them. I had fresh from the tree lemons once many years ago and didn't make anything with them,just gobbled them down. I have chicken breasts in the crock pot right now with sliced lemon, lemon juice, lemon pepper, salt, garlic,onion, oregano,and basil. I'm planning to use the lemony broth to cook pasta in,then bone the chicken and add it to the pasta and add some fresh broccoli and some butter.I saw a Lemony Potatoes recipe somewhere recently but haven't tried that. I've made Lemon Barbecued Chicken for years,first got the recipe out of my Mom's Betty Crocker.
                                                    I envy you having all those lemons. That would be something completely different to work with,that many fresh lemons. I've dealt with endless green beans,(my son and I canned 256 quarts one year),baskets of okra and tomatoes, several hundred ears of corn that come on at once and hot peppers that grow more than we ever expected.

                                                  2. LaureltQ RE: SouthToTheLeft Mar 19, 2011 09:16 PM

                                                    Lemon Risotto! I am also in the camp suggesting lemon curd. YUMMY! Nothing goes over better than a lemon tart in my house either.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: LaureltQ
                                                      lilgi RE: LaureltQ Mar 19, 2011 10:21 PM

                                                      Laurel, do you have a good lemon risotto recipe you can share?

                                                      1. re: lilgi
                                                        goodhealthgourmet RE: lilgi Mar 19, 2011 10:53 PM

                                                        this Bon Appétit recipe is a good one - i add a little minced fresh thyme and some sliced caramelized leeks.


                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                          lilgi RE: goodhealthgourmet Mar 19, 2011 11:03 PM

                                                          It's the one I have and Hazan's, but I'm just gonna add sorrel and a few porcini mushrooms. Thanks ;) Caramelized leeks, nice too!

                                                    2. s
                                                      SouthToTheLeft RE: SouthToTheLeft Mar 20, 2011 08:59 PM

                                                      I have some candied lemons boiling away on the stove ... wow, they are good!

                                                      1. trolley RE: SouthToTheLeft Jul 4, 2014 04:44 PM

                                                        Sounds arduous but juice the lemons and freeze. you can also grate and peel and save that too. Living in SoCal I didn't realize how much I appreciated lemons from a tree. I now live in Colorado and the lemons here are from the store only. sometimes costing up to 50 cents per lemon for non organic and even more for organic. or if you have the heart you can just send them to me ;)

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: trolley
                                                          buzzardbreath RE: trolley Jul 4, 2014 05:01 PM

                                                          @trolley...Last year I sent my sister-in-law and brother-in-law in Denver a large Flat Rate box full of lemons from my tree. They told me I didn't need to send them Christmas presents, the lemons were the perfect gift. :-)

                                                          1. re: buzzardbreath
                                                            trolley RE: buzzardbreath Jul 5, 2014 08:41 AM

                                                            yeah, the things you don't think about until you move to a landlocked state...

                                                        2. jpr54_1 RE: SouthToTheLeft Jul 5, 2014 05:25 AM

                                                          try preserved lemons

                                                          1. m
                                                            meerastvargo RE: SouthToTheLeft Jul 5, 2014 11:49 AM

                                                            This Meyer Lemon Budino is amazing and you can make it with regular lemons:

                                                            1. m
                                                              meerastvargo RE: SouthToTheLeft Jul 5, 2014 11:52 AM

                                                              This lemon curd was tasty and not as rich as other recipes I have seen/used:

                                                              1. m
                                                                meerastvargo RE: SouthToTheLeft Jul 5, 2014 11:53 AM

                                                                A lot of these ideas work for regular lemons even though the list is for meyer lemons:

                                                                1. m
                                                                  meerastvargo RE: SouthToTheLeft Jul 5, 2014 11:54 AM

                                                                  Nice lemon vinaigrette recipe:

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