from one generation to the next
My thrifty Mum never wasted fruit gifted by neighbours over the side fence. Putting fruit gifts to good uses was probably taught to her by her own mother who had lived through both world wars and the depression. Grandma had been orphaned at four, then raised in rural England by her paternal Grandparents, farm labourers on a meagre income.
In Melbourne in the 1950s, a lemon tree in a suburban backyard used to be as common as a Hill’s Hoist clothes line. Fresh lemons were available most of the year, but by late summer in a good season there was a glut. Mum would make marmalade, lemon curd, lemon meringue pie, but it was her lemon cordial we all loved, a thirst quenching drink made with tap water and ice, or elevated to something more glamorous with soda water, bitters and a twist of fruit. The recent availability of cheap Tahitian limes prompted me to test successfully, this alternative using Mum’s recipe.
6 lemons, approx 350 mls juice
1 kg white sugar for lemons,
300mls boiling water
15g citric acid
Remove the zest then squeeze all the juice from the fruit. In a large bowl dissolve the sugar in the boiling water. Allow to cool. add the fruit juice, zest and acid.
Thoroughly wash glass bottles with screw cap lids and sterilize them in the oven at 140C for 30 minutes.
Pour the syrup into the bottles and store in a cool dark place. Makes about 1.25 litres.
Enjoy diluted about 1:8 with tap or soda water.