The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

We are gardening but just in case you are wondering, we are still developing recipes

Photo: Inca in the garden

Photo: Inca in the garden

Last Sunday D roasted a superb chicken, stuffed with some of the lemon skins and orange peel left over from the St Clements Punch. He added a teaspoon of finely chopped preserved lemons and presented a roast chicken dish to die for. This evening we made a great stir fry with the remnants of the lemony orangey infused chicken.

Now we need to try this recipe with complete lemons and oranges, rather than just the peel. I’d be loath to encourage anyone to use just the skins of citrus fruit. We will, of course also add the instructions for those who make St Clements Punch and are left with loads of seemingly redundant peel.

I used to jettison all citrus peel and not add it to our composter. A few weeks ago I discovered that the experts on BBC Radio4 Gardener’s Question Time all toss their citrus peel into the compost. We use a lot of fresh lemons each week as the juice is a great way of enhancing flavours without using salt. Suddenly our composter is filling up quickly!

Despite eating well, our main focus is on the garden.  Even though I’m working outside we’ve been longing for rain. Rain stopped work for me this afternoon and I returned home two hours early.

As I was already soaked, so I washed the outside of the greenhouse – the rain would rinse it off. Then I moved inside and scrubbed the staging and shelves and removed the rubbish. I washed and dicinfected all the glass and surfaces with Citrox. I discovered the greenhouse that I loved a couple of years ago.  I’d reckoned that I’d need a long day to spring clean. It took just three hours.

When I finished, I sat beside the back door of our kitchen to relish the soft rain and the buoyant deep breaths of the garden.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Kate(uk)

    That’s the mystery of gardening!

    If we knew how long the simple jobs would take we wouldn’t bother and then where would we be :o)

  2. kate (uk)

    It is odd how the garden jobs you think will take forever- eg cleaning the greenhouse- take less time and the ones you think are going to be the work of moments- reconstructing a small fruit cage with last year’s poles and net, so how hard can it be?- take ALL DAY.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Sylvie

    Alarm bells always used to ring regarding citrus peel in the compost until I heard this programme. I’m now going to give it a go.

    Hi Diane

    When I read your comment, I wasn’t at all sure about the effect on worms but reading KarenO’s comment below I relaxed.

    Hello KarenO

    Thanks for leaving your comment. Our composter attracts thousands of worms. So I was relieved to hear that citrus peel does not mean an instant dispersal.

    Hopefully this weekend we will roast another chicken and firm u the recipe.

    Hi Wendy

    So you live in Wales. No wonder you are relaxed and well watered!

    I came from London to East Anglia 25 years ago. We used to get frosty, foggy, snowy winters and long hot summers.

    Now everything has changed. Hoping for a long hot summer this year!

  4. Wendy

    I thought your last sentence was lovely. I really
    enjoy light (and heavy) rain and the smells from the garden. Family and friends are used to me loving rain and getting quite fed-up when it is dry for too long. I guess that when we moved from London many years ago it was a good choice to come to Wales! x

  5. karenO

    I was a bit worried about the worms at first too but have been throwing my peel in the compost for a couple of years now and our compost is lovely with loads of worms so it seems OK. We use a lot of citrus fruit too and include large grapefruit peel in the compost bin.

    Look forward to the recipe! We had a recipe for cold chicken with yogurt and mango dressing once and it had a lemon stuffed in the cavity and juice drizzled over – delicious. I think it was one of Delia’s but it’s over 20 yrs ago now so can’t remember – must rummage to see if I can find it.

  6. diane

    I never throw my citrus peel in the compost bin as I once read that the worms don’t like it. I’ll give it a go then.

  7. Sylvie

    That sounds like a really satisfying spring clean day. I have to tell my friend about the citrus peel, she’s big on composting but never throws it in either.

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