Lemon Cordial

Lemons, lemons, lemons … we all have them at the moment.  I have three trees laden – Eureka, Meyer and a Lemonade (the ones in the photo).  I also have a Tahitian lime with limes galore on it.

Lemonade are an orange cross but, nonetheless, I love them.  The tree is small, perfect for a suburban garden, and a prolific fruiter.  The fruit are beautiful with smooth, golden skin.  They are not as acidic as a true lemon but perfect for sweets and lemon cordial.

When you have a zillion lemons, it is hard to know what to do with them all.   For several years,  I have taken a ute-load of lemons and limes to the local icecream shop for them to make sorbet but last year, someone beat me to it which, in a way, was good.  Instead of stripping the trees, I picked them slowly throughout the season and ended up with lemons and limes all through summer, which was fantastic.

This year, I will, again, pick them throughout the season so I need recipes that use a lot of citrus fruit. This recipe is just that, it used this whole bowl.  I don’t know the origin of the recipe, it is in my hand-written recipe book.  It is on page 2, so I must have had it for nearly 30 years.  I have made it many times.

This cordial keeps for ages because it has a preservative in it.  It will be perfect in summer with soda.


  • 3 litres of lemon juice
  • 1 kg sugar
  • 25 mls lemon essence
  • 14 g citric acid
  • ½ tsp sodium metabisulphate

Boil all together and pour into sterilised bottles or jars then seal.

Metabisulphate is a preservative so, if you don’t want to store the cordial for any length of time, you could omit it.  You can buy it at any shop that sells home brew equipment. It is used by home brewers to sterilise their bottles.  You will need to buy quite a lot but it is cheap and useful as a steriliser. People who are sensitive to sulphur should omit it.  I wonder whether you could reduce the amount to ¼ teaspoon.  Does any one know?

Postscript:  Since writing this post, I have made gallons and gallons of lemon and lime cordial.  After a while, I refined the recipe to exclude the lemon essence and citric acid and we prefer it. Try it and see what you think.  Unless you are going to use the cordial straight away, you must use the sodium metabisulphate as it is a preservative.


14 thoughts on “Lemon Cordial

  1. Sounds like the lemonade is similar to the Meyer. A friend down the road has Meyer and they are beautiful lemons very smooth soft skins and full of juice. Apparently they aren’t as strong in zing as the normal lemons?
    Hey, I love Lemon Meringue Pie – another good idea!!!!

      • Lemons are fantastic for creating natural household cleansers plus zesty vinaigrettes for leafy salads and luscious marinades. Thanks again for the wonderful sourdough starters—they will be debuting in our house as bread loaves on this Sunday!

        • Hi Debra
          Thank you for the passionfruit cuttings. I planted out 7. If I get 7 vines out of them I will have lots of passionfruit:) What bread are you planning on baking? I would make one with a combo of the starters (like the one I posted) as the rye is stronger than the wheat so it will give your bread a boost and you will have a great first loaf of sourdough. It is always nice to have a good first loaf.

  2. I make lemon chutney and lemon pickle using recipes passed on to me by relatives, but I am sure the net can provide you with many. Your cordial looks unbelievable. You are such a perfectionist.

    • Hi Anna and Faye, I have a great lemon pickle recipe but it makes a lot and I only eat a couple of jars a year so it lasts a long time. This year I need to preserve some limes and lemons so that should use a few.

  3. We squeezed some of our lemons, froze them in ice trays and then decanted into ziploc bags for later use. Very useful when lemons aren’t in season.

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