10 Genius Ways To Use Up Leftover Lemons

·3-min read

Wrinkly lemon in your fruit bowl? Or a half zested wedge of citrus abandoned in the corner of the fridge? Using up leftover lemons (even the tough and the shrivelled) is easy with these handy ideas up your sleeve:

Shake up a salad dressing

Make a citrusy vinaigrette with a wrinkly lemon by zapping it for 10 seconds in the microwave to loosen up the juice. Combine the juice with a good olive oil and anything from chopped garlic and herbs to mustard and chilli flakes to make a sharp salad dressing that will keep in the fridge for up to a week. If salad ‘aint your thing, use the same dressing over baked veggies, mix into bulgar wheat and quinoa, drizzle over chickpeas or smear on a toasted baguette before topping with cheese and grilling.

Make instant buttermilk

Got a cake recipe that calls for buttermilk but haven’t got any? Add a tablespoon of lemon juice to a cup of milk and wait five minutes for it to transform into buttermilk. Use it to make lighter bakes and cakes, juicy fried chicken, tender pancakes, melt-in-the-mouth scones and fast soda bread.

Rustle up a tangy salsa verde

Prepare a tangy salsa verde to strew over pan-fried prawns or a new potato salad by adding the flesh of a chopped lemon to all the regular bits; diced shallots, fresh green herbs, oil and garlic.

Stuff a roast chicken

Odd bits of lemon – be they wedge, slice or wrinkly quarter – are brilliant for stuffing into the cavity of a chicken before roasting. Pair the chicken with dried herbs, garlic and butter to create a garlicky, lemony jus at the bottom of the roasting pan that you can slurp as is or combine with flour to make a gravy.

Photo credit: GMVozd - Getty Images
Photo credit: GMVozd - Getty Images

Whip up a quick marinade

Make zesty, bright marinades for chicken, lamb and beef with lemon juice! Combine the lemon with oil and your favourite seasonings, like garlic granules, smoked paprika, dried onion and curry powder, to lend your meal a perky fragrance and maximise juiciness.

Amp up flavour without extra salt

If you’re looking to reduce your sodium intake, try spritzing some lemon juice into your meal before adding extra seasonings – the lemon will bring out the flavours of your dish in a similar way to salt.

Put together a savoury crunch lemon topping

Add a topping of breadcrumbs mixed with lemon zest, herbs and parmesan to fish fillets or a fish pie before baking. Use the juice of the lemons as a tart marinade for the fish first.

Make a lemon flavoured simple syrup

Boil equal parts water and sugar together with some lemon juice to make a lemony syrup to mix into summery cocktails, like these blueberry lemonade margaritas, or drizzle over a just-baked cake.

Mix lemon zest into crumbles and creams

Zest that tough old lemon and mix it into a streusel or crumble topping to give your puds a lemony lift. The natural oils in lemon zest lend a zippy, citrusy fragrance to icings, whipped desserts, ice creams and jelly too. Better yet, hide the zest in a bowl of sugar to make a lemon-scented sweetener for later use.

Photo credit: Steve Lupton - Getty Images
Photo credit: Steve Lupton - Getty Images

Prep dried lemon peel for tea

Bake lemon peels in a low oven to dry them out before stashing away for later use in flavoured hot teas. Dried lemon peels can also be ground up with pepper and salt for a quick all-purpose seasoning to scatter over chicken, fish and prawns.