It's almost the end of February, and I'm glad I've finished one of the Good Housewife's jobs - making the fruit syrup for the summer. Other (better) housewives make these syrups of almost anything sweet that comes along - oranges, mulberries, sour cherries and rose petals are some - but I only do lemons, and this is how: Take as many lemons as you have patience for, sugar, a plastic bowl, a grater and a juicer.
Wash and dry the lemons. If they aren't waxed a rinse will do, if waxed it's up to you how keen you are, but don't kill yourself.
Separate out one third of the lemons and juice the rest, then carefully grate off as much of the zest as you easily can from the remaining lemons and put it into a separate bowl, ideally one with a lid if you happen to have one.
Juice these lemons as well.
Measure the total juice, then use some of it to soak the lemon zest, just make sure it is well covered. Put a lid on the zest and juice and store it in the fridge for now.Pour the rest of the juice into your plastic bowl and add sugar. The quantity is one and a half times sugar to juice, i.e. one jug of lemon needs one and a half jugs of sugar (remembering to count in the amount you took off for the zest).
Put in a warm place and stir every time you pass it, the warmer the place, the quicker it will work, over a radiator or in a airing cupboard would be good.
When all the sugar has dissolved, take the juice plus zest from the fridge and squeeze the oil from the zest. This is a lovely, aromatic job, and I always pour the mixture through a fine sieve and squeeze the residue dry once or twice.Take your lovely, lemony juice and swirl it into the finished syrup.
Test by putting about two fingers of syrup into an ordinary water glass, filling with water and drinking. You can serve it as strong as you like, and ice is good.Put it into bottles.Store it in a cool place.