When Life Gives You Lemons, Minimise Food Waste

This is a guest blog post by Meg Grayson and Tess Spaven from Hidden Harvest

It's the prime time for citrus at the moment, and lemons are coming out of our ears! Lemons are a super versatile and healthy fruit but it can be a little overwhelming when there's so many ripening at this time of year, especially when the lemon trees aren't in your own backyard. Never fear though, this doesn't have to stop you from heavenly home-made cordials or candied peels! Instead, citrus season gives us all an excellent opportunity to step out our own front door and connect with the people living around us. Who knows what sort of people you'll meet and the friendships you'll forge?

Read next: How To Live A Zero Waste Life

Back in the day, our grandmas were frugal food waste warriors, as unlike today, grocery stores weren't full of every type of fruit and vegetable all year round. Instead, they used clever techniques to preserve and utilise every bit of food they had. After all, frugality was born out of a necessity to make do with what you had and come up with new ways of using items so that waste was kept to a minimum. Sadly, living in a world today where everything seems plentiful and excess is a given, means that we've lost this appreciation for our food and often take our seemingly endless supply of food for granted. Although we're not complaining about being able to eat avo on toast all year round, unfortunately it has meant that we've lost many of those awesome practical skills that our grandmothers once had and we think it's about time we all embraced our inner granny and got back on the bandwagon.

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There is a false assumption that preserving food takes too much time and effort in our modern busy lives but luckily that's not the case at all, in fact, preserving fruits can actually save you time later on, no more pesky trips to the supermarket just to get a little bit of lemon!

By helping to rescue some of your neighbourhood's lemons, you'll also be helping to minimise the massive amount of food waste in Australia, we waste up to 4 million tonnes per year! This is a staggering amount of waste, and has huge impacts on our national economy, our own wallets and our environment. All of this waste can seem a little daunting to tackle but using techniques to preserve food and reinventing food scraps into tasty delights are just some of the rad ways that we can easily reduce our food waste.

Our friends at Hidden Harvest know a thing or two about combatting food waste, raising awareness by hosting pop-up events with feasts made from otherwise wasted food. They're also crazy for lemons! Here's a recipe that they swear by for delicious candied lemon peel:


Makes about 1 1/2 cups

5-6 organic lemons, about 1 1/2 pounds

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup cold water

2 cups sugar

Superfine sugar (optional)

Read next: Preserved lemon: a super easy and flexible recipe!


Peel the lemons with vegetable peeler, taking off long, thin strips. Fill a medium sauce pan 3/4 full with water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the lemon peels and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then drain. Repeat, using the other 1/2 teaspoon of salt. This is softening the lemon peels and taking away the residual bitterness of the white pith.

Drain the peels for a second time and set aside. Add the cold water and two cups sugar to the saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. When the sugar dissolves add the lemon peels and simmer on low for 45-60 minutes. Watch near the end to make sure the sugar doesn't caramelize.

Immediately lift out the peels with a fork and let them cool on a piece of wax paper that has been sprayed with cooking spray. If you want to eat them as candy, roll them in superfine sugar while they are still wet. When they have cooled and dried put in a sealed container in the refrigerator, where they will last for quite a long time. The syrup can also be stored in the fridge and used for flavoring and sweetening.

Recipe source + image source:

Read next: The "Root To Stem" movement (and why it's good news for the planet)

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