Monday, January 25, 2010
Food Epiphany: Meyer Lemons
My favorite citrus of all is the Meyer lemon. A Meyer lemon is a cross between a lemon and an orange (possibly a mandarin). They are relatively thin-skinned, very fragrant and have a sweetness that almost seems to make the lemon lemonier.
I "discovered" Meyer lemons about eight years ago. The neighbor of one of my friends has a large tree that seems to have a bumper crop year round. My friend started sending a few lemons home with me whenever I would visit. Then I started seeking them out at the grocery store - hint, they are usually in the organic section and always fairly pricey. I even found them at Costco once. Then, I decided to grow them.
I now have two dwarf Meyer lemon trees in the back yard. They are in their third winter. I count the years by winter because my goal is to get them through the winter without frost damage. It's been cold this year so the trees are draped in a double layer of frost cloth. The trees were full of lemons when I put the frost cloth on in late November and I was very happy because it was a good crop. It was not time to harvest yet, so I left the lemons on the trees under the cloth. And there was a freeze. I lost about 60-70% of my crop. Live and learn.
I harvested the rest of the crop - regardless of ripeness. Now, I have Meyer lemon decor with bowls of lemons finishing their ripening process indoors (I don't think they will be as good, but no way was I going to throw them out!). As the lemons ripen I am enjoying Meyer lemon juice in water (as I write this), in salad dressings, on vegetables, etc.
In addition to fresh lemons, I always keep some Meyer olive oil on hand. I really like the one by O Olive Oil which is based in Sonoma County. It's a great addition to your pantry.