Lemons – a bunch of handy tips
Use lemon leaves to flavour food, as you do kaffir lime leaves
Shred and add to stir-fries, curries, salads
Skewer with chunks of meaty fish and large green olives, drizzle with oil and grill or cook on an oiled barbecue hot plate
Wrap around meatballs, skewer, and pan-fry
You’ll get more juice from a lemon at room temperature than one taken from the fridge. Warm lemons in a sink of hot water, or heat briefly in a microwave, or roll them on the bench, pressing hard with the palm of your hand, to soften the pulp.
Lemon or vinegar
Lemon is fresher and cleaner than vinegar, the latter often having spicy or woody notes, but it’s sharpness and astringency accumulates so that you can’t take as much of its sharpness as you can of vinegar’s.
Sweet or sour
Thick-skinned meyer lemons, a hybrid of lemon with either orange or grapefruit, are favoured in home gardens throughout New Zealand because they are good croppers and yield large fragrant fruit with plenty of sweet-sharp juice. Keep them in the fridge because they are softer than other varieties and tend to rot more quickly.
Acidic lemon varieties such as the smaller yen ben, and Lisbon and villa franca are best in Asian dishes because sharp acidity is required to balance sweet, salty, sour and hot flavours, and also in lemon tarts where a fresh tart sharpness is required.
Too many lemons
Remove the zest from excess lemons and open-freeze on a tray in small amounts of roughly 1 Tbsp of zest. Transfer to a sealable plastic bag once frozen. Squeeze the juice and freeze in an ice cube tray, then transfer to a sealable bag once frozen.