Tag Archives | meyer lemons

Meyer Lemon Ginger Concentrate

bowl of meyer lemons

I know. This blog has been awfully citrus heavy of late. So much so that it wouldn’t be a stretch to rename things Citrus in Jars (with the occasional fermented vegetable). Yet, here I am again, with more lemons. And not even a project-y marmalade or curd. Just a concentrate.

sliced lemons

Thing is, it’s been something of a brutal winter here in Philadelphia (though not as soul sucking as our friends in New England have had to live through) and I’m still working my way through the citrus recipes for the natural sweeteners book. I just don’t have a whole lot of creativity left. And so I return to the things I know and love.

simmering lemon syrup

And these citrus-based concentrates? I LOVE them because they are delicious and versatile. You can use them to sweeten your fizzy water (I know I suggest this a lot, but as someone who drinks many quart jars of water a day, it makes for a nice occasional treat). They work well in cocktails. And I’ve yet to meet a poundcake that appreciate a few drizzles of flavored syrup.

What’s more, next time you want to make a pitcher of lemonade, you can just pop open a jar, dilute it with water, ice it down, and serve.

grated ginger

I used Meyer lemons in this batch, but if those feel too dear, just use plain old grocery store lemons. It will be a little bit more tart, but you can always temper that by adding the juice of one orange to the mix.

Another place where you might want to make a switch is in sweetener. I used evaporated cane juice, but one could just as easily go with honey. Just use about a third less if you make that swap.

Finally, let’s talk ginger. I grated a huge hunk of ginger on a microplane until I had 1/4 cup of pulp. If the lemon ginger combo isn’t your thing, you could also try some lavender, cardamom, or even a little cayenne if you want a spicy kick. Just strain the syrup through a tightly woven sieve before canning.

finished lemon ginger concentrate

One last thing. If you don’t choose to zest your lemons for a salt blend before squeezing, make sure to heap the into a jar and cover them with white vinegar. Let them steep for a couple of days and then strain out all the spent lemon rinds. They will have given their essence to the vinegar and it will make for a very lovely cleaning fluid. I use it as a countertop spray and it cuts through the grease like you wouldn’t believe.

Continue Reading →

Comments { 20 }

Tips for Selecting, Prepping, and Preserving Lemons

January 15

Every January, I order a ten pound box of unsprayed Meyer lemons from the Lemon Ladies in California. I spend the next week or two transforming those lemons into marmalade, lemon curd, preserved lemons, dehydrated slices, syrups, and even infused vinegars. These preserves satisfy many of my lemon needs and help bring a much-needed bright spot into an otherwise dreary time of year.

Now, I realize that spending $65 on citrus isn’t in the cards for everyone. However, that doesn’t meant that you have to write off all lemon preservation projects. There’s a lot you can do with regular grocery lemons that will be delicious and won’t break the budget.

First off, if you’re making marmalade or using the zest in some way, organic lemons are best (but no judgment here if you can’t swing it). When you’re selecting the fruit, make sure to search out the lemons with the very smoothest skin. That almost always leads you to lemons that have thinner pith layers, which will make for a better marmalade or preserved lemon.

You also want to look for lemons that have a touch of green on the tips. Many years ago, I went on a press trip hosted by Sunkist and they taught us that lemons are always picked with some green remaining on the skin. They yellow up during storage and shipping. A hint of green means that they haven’t been off the tree as long as some of their compatriots.

When you’re ready to use your grocery store lemons, put them in the sink. Bring a kettle of water to a boil, let it cool for a moment, and then rinse the lemons with it. When they’re cool enough to handle, give them a good scrub with a vegetable brush and rinse with warm tap water. This process will remove any traces of the wax that lemons are typically coated with to extend their lifespan.

Now you’re ready to preserve. You can make just about all the recipes listed in this post with your grocery store lemons. You can make Kaela’s citrus salts. You can juice them, heap the peels in a jar, and cover them with distilled white vinegar to make an effective cleaning fluid.

How are you all preserving your citrus this year?

Comments { 13 }

Meyer Lemon Syrup

row of meyer lemon syrup

I’ve been a little off my preserving game of late. My pantry is still full to bursting, so I haven’t had much in the way of motivation to make anything new (though truly, that’s never stopped me before). Add to the fact this is one of the least interesting times of the year for produce, and it’s been at least two weeks since I pulled my canning pot out of the cabinet.

small meyer lemons

Even my annual box of Meyer lemons from the Lemon Ladies failed to motivate me fully. I made jam and curd, but beyond that, I’ve been keeping the bulk of my lemons in my crisper drawer, waiting for inspiration.

spent meyer lemon rinds

Knowing that my busy season is coming, I finally turned my attention to those lemons today. As I pondered them, I realized that I was experiencing something akin to writer’s block, only with preserves. I put a lot of pressure on myself to come up with interesting and novel recipes, and those expectations were tangling me up but good.

meyer lemon vinegar

As soon as I understood what was going on, I decided to let myself entirely off the hook. I released my crazy expectations and spent a moment thinking about what I could make from those lemons that I would most use and enjoy. After about two seconds, I realized that was I most wanted was a batch of Meyer lemon syrup.

meyer lemon syrup

Think of this like lemonade concentrate. It’s tangy first, sweet second, and is one of my favorite things drizzled into a glass of iced sparkling water. Cathartic canning, at its best.

Also! Once all your lemons are juiced, gather up the peels, push them into a large jar, and cover them with white vinegar. Let them sit for awhile, until the vinegar is infused with the lemon essence. Use it for household cleaning.

Continue Reading →

Comments { 31 }

Honey Sweetened Meyer Lemon Jam

four jars meyer lemon jam

Meyer lemons are a large part of what make the winter months bearable for me. Smooth-skinned, mildly tart, and with a fresh, slightly floral fragrance, they bring a welcome brightness to February (particularly this month. Every time the weather report predicts more snow, I feel ready to weep).

one and a half pounds

Over the years, I think I’ve done nearly everything that one can do with a Meyer lemon. I’ve preserved them in salt, turned them into curd, chopped and sliced into marmalade, dehydrated them, made jelly with their juice, and packed the zest into both salt and sugar.

simmered lemons

I think this whole fruit jam might be my final meyer lemon frontier. I’d been thinking along these lines for a while and then Shae over at Hitchhiking to Heaven posted a similar whole fruit jam using grapefruit and it cemented the deal for me.

lemons in a blender

Because I find that honey sweetened preserves are best done in small batches, I started with just one and a half pounds of lemons. I put them in a saucepan where they’d fit in a single layer and added some water (you need two cups of water to make the jam, so I started with a bit more than that to account for evaporation).

pouring meyer lemon sludge

I simmered the lemons for about 25 minutes, until the were tender but not falling apart and then I left them in the pot for a day because life got busy. Had my fridge not been packed to the gills, I would have poured them into a container and popped them in there, but there just wasn’t room.

meyer lemon jam

When I was ready to cook, I put the lemons in the blender with two cups of the cooking water and pulsed until they were broken into relatively small pieces but not uniformly pureed (I wanted some texture). The puree went into a low, wide pan with two cups of honey (approximately one half of the meyer lemon mixture by weight). Cooked over high heat, it was setting up nicely in just 15 minutes.

I’m really pleased with the way this jam turned out. It shows off all the charms of the meyer lemon, is pleasingly bracing, and manages to avoid being over-sweet. I also love the fact that it skips all the work of a traditional batch of marmalade. I still have a few meyer lemons left and am planning to make a second batch.

Updated to add: I’ve gotten some questions about the seeds. Meyer lemons are a hybrid fruit, so they typically don’t have many seeds. I used a small slotted spoon to skim them out of the jam during cooking. If your lemons are seedier than mine, cut them in half and remove the seeds before pureeing.

Continue Reading →

Comments { 65 }

Air-Dried Lemon Peel

dried Meyer lemon peel

Next time you go to juice a lemon for a recipe, take an extra minute, grab a vegetable peeler and remove the flavorful outer layer of skin from your lemon. Lay these fragrant slivers on a place and perch the plate on a shelf or on top of a towering stack of cookbooks (if you’re me).

Check them a day or two later, or whenever you remember. Soon enough, they should be quite dry but still fragrant and vividly colored. Place them in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and stash them in a dark corner. Once you have this little jar of dried lemon peels, here’s how you can use them.

  • Drop a sliver into brewing black tea. 
  • Pulverize a few strips with coarse salt and sprinkle over popcorn.
  • Crush them and whisk the bits into homemade vinaigrettes and marinades.
  • Float them in a water bottle.
  • Simmer these citrus ribbons in a pot of creamy rice pudding.
  • Use the jar as a day-brightening aromatherapy devise.


Comments { 26 }

Eight Ways to Preserve Meyer Lemons

six meyer lemons

It is Meyer lemon season and I am in the midst of my annual binge. As I’ve chopped, juiced, dried, fermented and otherwise infused my way through ten pounds, the though occurred to me that it might be useful to have all my favorite ways to preserve this citrus hybrid in one place.

Some of the recipes are mine, some link out to other folks. I’ve tucked my recipe for Meyer lemon jelly in at the end of the post (it’s a recipe from the cookbook, but I feel compelled to share). Enjoy!

soaking meyer lemon bits

I think that marmalade is one of the highest forms of preservation for Meyer lemons. There’s a recipe in my cookbook, but if you don’t have it, use this recipe for Small Batch Blood Orange Marmalade. It will work just as well. If you want something a little different, consider trying the Strawberry Meyer Lemon Marmalade recipe I wrote for Simple Bites last year.

salted meyer lemons

For those of you who like their citrus with a little funk, make Salt Preserved Lemons. Use them in salads, braises, stews and even salted lemonade. If you struggle with them in their whole state, blend them and scoop the puree into vinaigrettes and smooth soups.

dehydrating lemons

Dehydrated lemon slices are good for dropping into mugs of tea, water bottles and even braises that need a little acidity. If you store them in airtight containers, they last up to a year.

meyer lemon zest sugar

Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you’re going to juice a bunch of lemons,  make sure to zest them (either with a vegetable peeler for big chunks or with a rasp for fine bits) thoroughly before you give them the big squeeze. Then stir that zest into sugar or salt, let it dry on a plate or baking sheet for a bit and then pack it into jars. You’ll get good Meyer lemon flavor, all year round.

267 | 365

This recipe for Meyer Lemon Caramel is not mine and I’ve not yet tried it (but I plan to). However, when it comes to delicious things, I trust Janet without question. Her blog is a delight and you should be reading it. And then you should make Meyer lemon caramel.

two half-pints of lemon curd

Meyer Lemon Curd is one of my weaknesses. I love it a little too much, which is why I make it just once a year. It’s dangerous for me to have around. But in January or February, it just seems right to whisk up a batch and stir it into greek yogurt. It beats the winter blues better than a trip to the tropics.

making limoncelle

If you like limoncello, I implore you to make this version of Meyer Limoncello that Heather posted on her blog (Voodoo and Sauce) about two years ago. I’ve made it following her instructions twice and it’s divine. I’ve not changed a thing (which is rare for me).

meyer lemons

After the jump is my recipe for Meyer Lemon Jelly. The set can be a little tricky to hit right on the nose, but since I like to spoon this jelly into sparkling water, it’s no great loss if it’s too loose. For a slightly pulpier preserve, substitute segmented Meyer lemons for the grapefruit in this jam recipe.

What’s your favorite way to preserve Meyer lemons?

Continue Reading →

Comments { 63 }