Lemons are one of the most versatile fruits around. This is just as well when you consider how prolific a backyard lemon tree can be. More than one glut of lemons a year is not uncommon.
Which is great news for anyone who loves a zingy recipe. Nothing puts the tang into food like a lemon can. It makes sweet things taste sweeter and sour things taste better.
If you find yourself with plentiful lemons (and even if you don't), give one of these recipes a whirl.
Rule of life #563: Never, ever let a lemon go to waste. They are just too precious and handy. This method of pickling and preserving whole lemons will add the 'wow' factor to your cooking, as any Middle Eastern foodie will tell you. Keep reading for recipe ideas to use your preserved lemons.
This is an instant version of preserved lemons I discovered in Anna Hansen’s The Modern Pantry cookbook and it’s a brilliant way of getting that potent, salty burst of citrus into dishes when you haven’t homemade preserved lemons to hand or you don’t want to shell out for the generally substandard and ridiculously expensive bought variety. And actually, I find this version brighter and more versatile – the juice is salty, but not overly so, and has an intense, citrusy flavour which makes it ideal in dressings or just drizzled over some fish or chicken to brighten it up.
Preserved lemons add the tart to sumac's tang and together they make chicken wings fly.
A pile of school prawns dipped into a preserved lemon aïoli is exactly the kind of simple dish that lemons love so well. This is a dish that's made for eating with others, preferably in the sunshine.
Lamb stuffed with preserved lemon, caperberries, currants and pine nuts is about as good as a springtime meal gets. Served with extra lemon wedges to squeeze over the lot... lemon just gets lamb and the feeling is mutual.
Known as Sardinia's gnocchi, malloreddus are a small pasta perfect for soaking up flavour as they do with this fresh crab cooked in a salty lemon butter.
A warm, wholesome salad with tender couscous, chargrilled zucchini and a fresh lemon and olive oil dressing.
Donna Hay's lemon pudding is what happens when you chuck an entire lemon (sans seeds) into your food processor and add the sugar, butter and eggs trinity. It's divine.
This delightfully crumbly lemon pie from Ohio's Shaker community also uses the whole lemon without the seeds. Lemon seeds are bitter and basically inedible, so that's a good reason to leave them out of everything you ever make.
Whole lemons are also grand when steamed with fish. Here a whole snapper goes into the steamer with lemon and blacked beans. The lemon steams through the entire fish, delicately flavouring it and keeping it super moist.
Of course, preserving lemon rinds is also essential. You can throw them into any savoury dish that calls for lemons and they'll add an extra lemon hit. The salt is a bonus flavour enhancer.
Someone once mentioned that they'd never eat a lemon delicious pudding (hadn't even heard of one, can you believe it!?) and we couldn't get the butter, sugar and lemon rind beaten fast enough. Their verdict: "where has this delicious pudding been all my life?"
Put your preserved lemon skins to good use in an Egyptian carrot salad. One bite and you'll swear you're sailing down the Nile under a felucca sail at sunset.
Orange often gets all the glory, but lemon doesn't mind. It knows it's sour enough already.
This lemon marmalade is a perfect spread or filling for any number of pastries you might indulge in. Serve it with freshly baked croissants, ensaïmadas or just simply with butter on toast.
The sauce doesn’t even need its own pan – it is simply warmed over the pot as the pasta is cooking – making for a simple meal that doesn’t require you to stand at the stove for long periods of time.
There's the salt-preserved lemon zest, and then there's the candied version. This stuff is seriously addictive, in that 'sour lollies' way that makes your mouth pucker and your eyes water. Eat it straight from the jar if you dare, or add it to many recipes that call for lemon zest for added punch.
A lemon slice is exactly the right way to use lemon zest. A lemon drizzle icing and extra zest top things off nicely.
Potatoes soak up lemon zest like the ocean soaks up the sun. The result is potato kibbeh, comfort food that slaps you back onto your feet in no time.
These soft, sweet, ring-shaped taralli are typical of Sicily (in particular, Palermo). This version is fragrant and lemony.
I think orecchiette, translated as "little ears", is my favourite short dried pasta. I love the chewiness of it and I also love the often oily and slightly drier sauces that it is traditionally paired with. This is an excellent quick flavourful pasta dish that has that excellent combination of salty and oiliness.
Ocean trout is a favourite of mine because it is boldly coloured, strongly flavoured and almost as good for you as salmon. Here I’m enhancing its flavour and colour and balancing its plumpness with sharp acidic ingredients. The Italian title of this dish ends with the word for spring, but you can make it any time. Serve it with green beans.
A Bombay lemonade is just what the doctor would order if that doctor was boiling hot and needed a cool down. It's the most refreshing way to dress up lemon juice.
Many irresistible cake recipes allow you to pour sweet, sweet lemon syrup over the top for flavour and moisture. This is one of those cakes.
Lemon chicken is like the spaghetti bolognese of China. This is to say that everyone loves it and every home cook is happy to tackle it because it's such a family favourite.
A staple during Naples' Carnival festivities, migliaccio is the region's rustic semolina and lemon cake which is made rich and moist with the ricotta.
It's impossible to think about Middle Eastern food without drooling over the thought of fresh, homemade hummus.
This Belgian lemon teacake brings the juice and zest together in the most lemony of lemon curds you're ever likely to crave. The combination of shortcake and curd means you will not make this stunning cake only once. As every lemon lover knows, it pays to end of a sweet note.
Standing somewhere between ice-cream and frozen yoghurt, Shane likes to pair this frozen dessert with a slice of sweet, crispy m'hencha.
There’s nothing quite like a good banana muffin especially when flavoured with coconut, studded with pecans and drizzled with a tangy lemon glaze like these ones – they will definitely stand out from the crowd!
As if haloumi wasn't amazing on its own, we wrap it in stringy pastry, deep-fry it, then slather on a divine honey, pine nut and lemon dressing.
A simple, quick dish of chicken with olives, cherry tomatoes and lemon. It takes just 5 minutes to prepare, then you set and forget in the oven.
This super-simple recipe needs no preparation. Literally. Just put it in the oven. That’s it.
An easy seafood mezze grilled with garlic oil and dressed with parsley. Mop up all the delicious sauce with good bread.
These are like a lemon poppy seed loaf met a lemon square, and became best friends!
This is truly a wonderful party dish, a simple farm chicken is transformed into a chic meal thanks to taste-bud tingling dried fruits, delicious nuts and of course our homemade ras el hanout.