Salad dressings, desserts, drinks, cocktails, with fish, chicken, lamb, vegetables… Lemons can be used in so many ways, I couldn’t imagine a life without them. Just a squeeze of lemon can improve the flavour and bring freshness to so many dishes.. not to mention some wonderful vitamin C too. If you love lemons you may agree that there’s nothing quite like them. Limes and grapefruit are zesty, fresh and delicious but don’t quite have the same powerful zing.
My Swiss grandmother Alice often ate slices of fresh lemon. To see someone bite into a slice of lemon and keep a straight face is rare. I adored her so was fascinated and determined to be able to eat lemons just like her. It’s now a habit of mine, after squeezing some lemon on fish I can’t not eat the lemon flesh, so good! Refreshing and very palate cleansing.
We actually have a lemon tree in a pot on our balcony, however it’s never been very happy. I’m learning and slowly becoming a better balcony gardener.. slowly. But in the meantime I gather lemons from elsewhere. Occasionally, we’re lucky to receive a bundle from Andrew’s mum, from her gigantic tree, but usually I buy a bag from the Saturday Richmond Gleadell St Market or a weekend Farmers’ Market.
If you don’t already use lemons.. but are keen to.. or if you have a bountiful lemon tree and are stuck for ideas, here are some nice and simple ways to enjoy them:
- Sliced lemon in a mug of hot water (during cold winter days, this just feels warming and cleansing)
- Sliced lemon with mineral water
- Juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon with boiling water honey (if I feel I have a sore throat coming on, or just feeling a little run down. I sometimes add fresh ginger too)
- Adding juice or lemon flesh when making fresh fruit/vegetable juice
A squeeze of lemon is nice on:
- avocado on toast (with salt and pepper, and parsley)
- spicy roasted sweet potato chips/wedges
- hot roasted vegetables (especially sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, cauliflower and beets), steamed greens, sautéed spinach, kale and silverbeet
- Steamed broccoli (with a little olive oil, salt and pepper too)
- Grilled haloumi
- bbq fish, chicken, lamb and steak
- Sardines on toast
A squeeze of lemon is nice in:
- Simple pasta sauces – such as a mix of garlic, chilli, white wine and greens such as zucchini, broccoli, peas, snow peas (with or without sliced chicken or fish) or a simple marinara
- Stir fries- such as a mix of garlic, ginger, chilli, lemon zest, Asian greens, broccoli, thinly sliced vegetables, sprouts, fresh coriander, tofu or chicken
- Fruit salad – lemon juice is a natural preservative so when added to sliced fruit such as apple it helps to prevent browning.
Using lemon juice in salad dressings is really nice, particularly for leafy salads, roasted veggie salads, raw kale salads, mixed grain salads, coleslaw style salads and warm steamed vegetable salads).. any salad really. I often use one of the combos below when making warm broccoli salad, raw kale salad, quinoa and roasted veggie salad and warm baby potato salad.
- lemon + olive oil
- lemon + olive oil + salt and pepper
- lemon + seeded mustard + olive oil + salt and pepper
- lemon + tahini + water + olive oil + honey
- lemon + tahini + white balsamic vinegar + olive oil + salt and pepper
Adding sliced lemon when baking/roasting:
- Sliced lemon with baked fish (place fish on a piece of baking paper or foil, with a little oil, and add slices of lemon on top, a squeeze of lemon, herbs, salt and pepper, then fold paper/foil to make a boat-like parsel and bake in oven)
- Adding quartered lemon to a roasting pan when roasting chicken (you can also stuff whole chicken with quartered lemon, rosemary and/or thyme and garlic)