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The Apothecary's Garden

Lemon Harvest & Recipes

If you're like me and have a lemon tree (or several) in your garden, you've probably wondered what to do with the masses of lemons you get every year.

This year, I took advantage of the bumper harvest to try my hand at making a zesty Lemon Hydrosol and Essential Oil.

Since only the peels are needed to make Lemon Essential Oil, what did I do with the rest of the lemons? Well, I juiced all 53 of them. Much of the juice I froze in ice-trays before transferring the lemon ice cubes to freezer bags. I'll be melting these whenever I need the juice for cooking. The rest of the juice was used to make a delicious Lemon Curd and a Lemon Simple Syrup to use in cocktails and as a cordial.

Keep reading for the recipes and to see how I extracted Essential Oil and Hydrosol from my garden grown lemons. Follow this link to see a video of the process.

Preparing the Peels

The classic method of oil production with lemons is cold pressing, but excellent results can still be achieved with steam distillation. Only the outermost layer, none of the white pith, must be peeled from the lemon, then chopped up finely.

Preparing the Still

The rule of thumb for packing a still is: 1 liter of water for 1 kilogram of lemon peel. The peel is placed in a steamer basket in the still, making sure the water level is beneath the basket. I put a layer of linen cloth underneath the chopped peel to keep any pieces from falling through the steamer and burning.

Steam Distillation

In a still, hot steam is led through the plant material laying above boiling water. The steam carries the volatile oils and after subsequent cooling, you are left with both the essential oil and the hydrosol, a fragrant water. In this image you can see the thin layer of essential oil floating above the hydrosol in the bottle in the background.

Lemon Curd Recipe

1 cup fresh lemon juice

⅔ cup sugar

3 large egg yolks

200g unsalted butter, cut into 2cm pieces

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.

Whisk lemon juice, sugar, and eggs, in a medium heatproof ceramic bowl.

Reduce heat to medium-high & place over pot of simmering water to make a double boiler. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture has thickened, 5–6 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and slowly add butter, 1 piece at a time. Blend until butter is completely incorporated.

Store the cooled lemon curd in jars and refrigerate.

Lemon Simple Syrup Recipe

2 cups Lemon Juice

2 cups Sugar

1 tsp Citric Acid

Gently heat the lemon juice over a stove top, add stir in the sugar.

Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat and add the citric acid.

Allow the syrup to cool then transfer to a bottle and store in the refrigerator. The addition of citric acid should keep it fresh for several weeks.

Questions? Reach Out

 Eau et Huile Botanique

Made with precious hydrosols, absolutes & essential oils in a purified water substrate or Jojoba, the Botanique line allows you to experience otherwise very expensive fragrant materials at an accessible price to appreciate every day.


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