Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Gentle Art of Preservation

... otherwise entitled: Further Developments in the Case of the Super-Prolific Citrus Trees
Our lemon tree's desire to give give give and just keep on giving.... well,  I have been doing more good things with our produce  :)  Limoncello!!  Aah, the taste of Italia, si?
And thank you all for those links to recipes for Limoncello, I used this one, the link sent to me by Sue, thank you!

6 lemons
750mL vodka
225g sugar
435mL water

Place the lemons in a saucepan and cover with boiling water.  Set aside for 1 hour to soak.  Drain and pat dry.  Finely grate the lemons, and combine the lemon rind and vodka in a jug.  (You don't use the juice from the lemons in this recipe, but obviously the lemons can be juiced and the juice can still be used somewhere; waste not want not   :)  )
Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring for 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved.  Increase heat to medium and bring to the boil.  Cook without stirring for 5 minutes, or until the syrup begins to thicken.  Set aside to cool.
Add cool syrup to the vodka mixture and pour into an airtight container.  Seal and store in a cool, dark place, shaking occasionally, for 1 month to develop the flavours.
Strain the vodka mixture through a fine sieve, into a clean sterilised airtight bottle.  Discard the rind.

Note: This liqueur must be served well chilled.  Place it in the freezer for 1 hour before serving.

We are now so looking forward to long hot summer evenings taking tiny sips of limoncello in tonic water... I can taste it already.  Oh maybe that is because I just did.. hehehe  :D
And remember my plan to drink a-lemon-a-day?? well I am very pleased to report that  I have not been sick or felt even vaguely under the weather all this winter!  I'm positive that has been due to my (almost) daily dose of Vitamin C!  My family likewise has been perfectly well all winter, which is awesome.
From our cumquat tree:
Cumquat marmalade
2 cups cumquats, washed and sliced finely
2 cups water
juice of 1 lemon
2 cups sugar
if you have bumper crops of cumquats, double the quantities
Wash and slice fruit finely and remove the seeds, but don't throw them away.
Place the fruit in a large saucepan, cover with water and soak overnight (8 hours).  Put the seeds in a separate small bowl and soak in a small amount of boiling water overnight also.
Next day, strain the liquid from the seeds.  Discard the seeds and add the water to the cumquats.  Cook gently on a low heat until the fruit is tender and the liquid is reduced by half.
Add the sugar and lemon juice.  When the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and boil rapidly while stirring constantly until the mixture jells, around 30-45 minutes.
To test if the marmalade is jelling, spoon a little onto a cold saucer.  if a skin forms and it glazes on the surface and wrinkles when touched, it is ready.  If it is still runny, boil for a little longer and test again.

That recipe is from an old Burke's Backyard facts sheet.  Slicing the cumquats is fiddly and a bit of a pain, but I just set myself up in front of the TV and knocked off a huge batch over one evening.

(Later edit: I've had enough comments utilising a variety of different spellings for me to wish to confirm that "cumquats" with a "c" IS the correct spelling here in Australia  :)  )

I neglected to mention it previously, but we have a little lime tree as well (pictured in the background of my limoncello above) and it too has been gallantly producing a bountiful harvest... so:
Lime curd
rind and juice of 5 limes
6 eggs
1 1/2 c sugar
125g butter

Lightly whisk the eggs and sugar together in a saucepan, then add the other ingredients.  Whisk continually over a medium heat until the mixture has thickened to a custard-like texture then allow to cool in the pan.  Decant into sterilised jars.

This is the same recipe I used for my lemon curd just with one extra lime added in, since the limes are a little smaller than the lemons.  I also added a titch of green food colouring to distinguish it from the lemon curd, but I think this could have been a bad idea.  According to my family it looks like jars of slime.  
Oh.  Mmmm.  Right.  Not such a hugely appetising description, mebbee?!  Previously it was a perfectly delectable shade of yellow.  So I would NOT recommend the green food colouring  :) 
But whilst it may look slightly dubious I can assure you it still tastes absolutely delicious!  I think I like it even more than the lemon curd!

Finally, boring (sorry) but here are my additions for August

Fabric; $5.00
Patterns; KwikSew 3300 $11.75 and McCalls 2772, used previously
Underwires; $2.49
Cup inserts; $12.95
Bra closure; $2.49
Elastic; $7.98
Buttons; old, from stash
Total cost: $41.66
Fabric; white Tshirts; fabric previously accounted for, striped Tshirt and sleeve Tshirt, all refashioned old garments and leftovers
Pattern; self drafted
Total cost for the 4 Tshirts: free
Fabric; birthday gift from friends
Pattern; from Pattern Magic 3, been used before
Total cost: free
Fabric; from an old cardigan and Tshirt
Zip; $2.99
Thread; $2.68
Total cost: $5.67
Fabric; $7.50
Patterns; KwikSew 3300 and McCalls 2772, both used previously
Underwires; recycled from old bra
Cup inserts; $12.95
Bra closure; $2.49
Elastic; $2.99
Embroidery thread; old,  from stash
Total cost: $25.93
Fabric; $37.48
Thread; broke into a new 1000m reel of black $13.95
Pattern; self drafted
Total cost: $51.43 (but I am not including this cost in the total for my own wardrobe)
Fabric; about $50.00?
Yellow jersey; $12.00
Pattern; self-drafted
Brass Snaps; $4.95
Total cost; $66.95
Fabric; all leftovers
Lining; $8.39
Pattern; from the Pattern Pyramid… free
Buttons; $5.70
Total cost; $14.09
No miscellaneous purchases this month

Making the total for the second third of the year; $499.02
and my running total for the year so far $1132.06


  1. My mouth is absolutely watering with all the citrus goodness you have in this posting.

  2. I'm drooling too. I was given a few bags of oranges yesterday so marmalade is on the cards this weekend. I would have loved to have made limoncello instead.

  3. Thanks for the Limoncello recipe. I shall make some, I am worried that it won't survive to be a Christmas gift though. I love lemons too!!

  4. I am so pleased the limoncello recipe was a success. If my lemon tree ever turns on a good bout of fruit, I will try it too! :)

  5. I read this recipe to my husband. I might have to send him to the liquor store or some vodka so I can use some lemons

  6. OOOHHH Limoncello!!!!!!! I love Limoncello! We have a small lemon tree in our balcony, but we have to wait for its lemons yet.
    In the Basque Country we have a famous alcoholic beverage called Patxaran, it´s a mixed between anise and sloe tree, with cinnamon and coffee beans. We are collecting sloes in the mountains near here, for making it. Maybe I have to write a post about it!

  7. I wanna make Limoncello! (Might be a while til I can drink it though!) Thanks for the recipes Caro!


  8. Perfect! we have lemons and limes in abundance here on the trees so now just have to get busy.

  9. I love a good liquor, er, lemon recipe! I have a small Meyer lemon tree in a pot that may give enough fruit for a bottle of lemoncello. Or half a bottle. That would work.

  10. Mmmmmmmm..... Reading this post I could taste the Limoncello! How wonderful to have such beautiful fruit trees in your garden.

  11. It all looks so lovely! You could be a food stylist, as well as a stylist stylist. :D

  12. I have to try your curd recipe, since it uses whole eggs. (Mine are all just egg yolks and the whites make an Angel Food, that you serve it on, but of course, your recipe sounds healthier.)
    I remember the Kumquat tree at the edge of my grandfather's orange grove. We loved it as kids because we didn't have to peel them. That Kumquat Marmalade looks delicious!

  13. mmmm ... lime curd ... I've made lemon curd and love it (the boys, not so much -- more for me!) and Kevin would be jealous of your kumquat ...

  14. :) I'm jealous of your bountiful harvest - those preserves look yummy! Yum, citrus fruit. I need to live in a balmier country...

  15. Yummy yummy, I have been enjoying key limes from my tree as of late. my Kumquats are not ripe yet. My Lemons are not ripe yet either. My citrus are in pots as they are not cold hardy for my area. But they are producing! :O)

  16. I don't think I've ever eaten a cumquat. Are they edible, I mean just by themselves in the original state, perhaps minus peeling or something?

    We met lemoncello on our first trip to Italy, to Sorrento back in the late 1990's. We brought several bottles back for us and for gifts. Sadly, it just doesn't taste the same here in cold, damp England. I'm convinced that a lot of food and drink depend upon the right atmosphere or the right climate to be properly enjoyed. Fortunately, you have the right climate.

  17. It all looks so lovely! You could be a food stylist, as well as a stylist stylist. :D