Lemon barley water

lemon barley water

My parents have a glut of lemons at the moment and they gave us ‘as many as we wanted’ when we saw them last. I’m a big fan of lemon barley water as an ideal way to use up lemons. This recipe is an adaptation of the one off the back of the McKenzie’s Pearl Barley packet.

Three or four lemons make half a cup of lemon juice. I like to use brown sugar but it gives the drink a warm orange colour, so if you want a more traditional yellow use white sugar. It’s a refreshing drink either way. We feed the remaining pearl barley to our dog. Although McKenzie’s recommends:

Serve in a jug with lots of ice and fresh mint leaves. Could also be mixed with dry ginger ale for a refreshing alternative. Don’t throw away the cooked barley. Store in the fridge and for a nutritious and filling breakfast, warm through and top with yoghurt and fresh fruit pieces.

Lemon barley water

1/4 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup brown or white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 cups water

  1. Rinse the pearl barley well, cover with cold water and bring to the boil in a saucepan. Drain and then remove any discoloured grain.
  2. Place pearl barley back into a saucepan with 4 cups of water. Cook on a simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Strain the pearl barley. Add the lemon juice and sugar and stir until sugar has dissolved. 
  4. Chill in the refrigerator.

Makes 1 litre.

Book review: Sabrina’s juicy little book of citrus – by Sabrina Hahn

sabrina-citrus-book

No plants generate more gardening questions than citrus – and zesty gardening goddess Sabrina Hahn has got all the answers, including green and practical solutions to the most common problems. 

Bringing together lemons, limes, grapefruits, kumquats, oranges and much more, this little book is packed full of useful information on how to grow happy healthy citrus in your garden. 

Sabrina’s Juicy Little Book of Citrus is written by Sabrina Hahn, a media presenter on ABC’s gardening talk-back radio. The book features beautiful black and white line drawings which illustrate various points. As Sabrina says, it is “solid information and no photos”. It is the ideal size to fit in your handbag.

The citrus family is an enormous one and its members include sweet oranges, grapefruits, pomelos, bitter oranges,  kumquats, calamondins, mandarins, tangelos, lemons, limes and citrons.

The book covers propagation and care, twelve citrus varieties for the home gardener, and a section on troubleshooting.

I did discover that the risk of growing citrus from seed is that it can take anything from 6 to 30 years before you see any fruit. Perhaps there is hope for my fruit-less lemon tree yet.

I also learnt you need to fertilise citrus little-and-often and Sabrina recommends a half a handful of fertiliser every month from September to February in the first year.

Highly recommended for citrus lovers.

Sabrina’s Juicy Little Book of Citrus – by Sabrina Hahn

 

Signs of spring

cabbage-large

Another quiet lazy weekend in the garden. We’ve had a couple of cabbage already, with Matt remarking that you can tell an organic one by all the live caterpillars tucked in the leaves.

Brisbane had it’s yearly Ekka without the usual strong westerly winds. Instead we had a flash of rain on our day off.

One of my red tulips has poked it’s head up. I was expecting the petals to come up closed and then open into their characteristic bowl shape when they have matured. One of the King Edward yellow daffodils is also flowering in the front yard.

We were chatting with our neighbour who unfortunately had their white picket fence spray painted with green graffiti tags. He commented that the days had started to warm up and remarked that we went straight from winter to summer in a week. The clover coming back was a sign of spring for him. Matt uses the leaves returning on the frangipani tree as his guide.

We have picked the unknown citrus that was green and is now going yellow. We’ve decided the only way to finally decide what it is, is to taste it. Will it be a lemon, lime or orange?

Experimenting

I love having a little area in the garden for experimenting with.

When we lived in a second floor unit, I used to peer over the balcony at the elderly lady’s small garden below and bemoan the fact we weren’t on ground level. So one year, I bought some self-watering pots as a birthday present for myself (incidentally, the strawberries are currently growing in them). To brighten up our outdoor space I grew some colourful petunias and pink geraniums.

The third pot I used to throw in vegetable scraps and leftover seeds. At one point I was trying to grow an avocado tree, but I ended up accidentally growing a citrus tree from seed! I’ve had the tree for about seven years now and it is currently planted in our backyard. Although it hasn’t fruited yet, I like to think that it’s a lemon tree that is a descendant of my parent’s tree. They planted their tree when they first moved into their house, over 30 years ago now. Apparently citrus trees can take eight to ten years before they fruit, so I’ve got a bit more of a wait until I can confirm what type of citrus it is.

The best bit about experimenting is you that it can be free and you might be pleasantly surprised.