Lemon cordial a winner all year round

This Christmas Kelly Dyer made the mistake of giving N8N two bottles of her lemon cordial. We have been perstering her ever since for more. In the meantime, here’s the recipe.

The hot summer days are coming to an end but there’s still nothing quite like a cold glass of cordial at the end of a day working in the garden. Or at least, so the husband tells me when I take him one after he’s mown the lawns. And in winter it makes a delicious hot lemon drink on those cold nights.

Lemon cordial is really easy if you have a little time, and with nice glass bottles available at the Warehouse or supermarket (the kind with the rubber seal, Pak ‘n Save $2) you can bottle the concentrate so that it will keep longer. The recipe is also versatile; see the tips after the instructions for ways of changing it around.

6 lemons (preferably meyer)
1.8 kg sugar (can substitute some for honey)
1.2 litres boiling water
25g (2T) tartaric acid
25g (2T) citric acid
25g (2T) epsom salts

  • Grate the rind of four lemons and soak in 200ml of boiling water until the water goes cool.  Juice all six lemons and add the juice to the soaked rind.   (At this point you can freeze the liquid if you need to use up lemons but don’t have the time to finish the process. Simply thaw when ready and continue.)
  • Put all the dry ingredients in a large pot. Add 1 litre of boiling water and stir well.  Add the juice/rind mix to the pot. Note that you can strain the rind out at this point if you do not wish to leave it in.
  • Stir until all the sugar has dissolved and it is simmering. Keep it at a low simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • While the concentrate simmers, prepare your bottles for use. To clean bottles add No Rinse Steriliser (from Brew Your Own Liquor) and follow the instructions on the pack. Keep the bottles standing in hot water while they sterilise so that they don’t crack when you add the hot cordial mix.

Pour the cordial concentrate into the bottles and seal. Prepared this way your cordial should keep without being refrigerated. You will make about 2.5 litres of concentrate.

Keep refrigerated once open. Dilute one part cordial to 10 parts water (or to taste). This makes about three litres.

• Replace two lemons with three or four limes. Grate the rind and add it to the boiling water then continue as normal.
• Replace half the sugar with honey (by weight)
• Use honey as above and add fresh ginger to the soaking rind for a winter lemon/honey/ginger drink.  Especially yummy when it’s chilly out.

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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