Tag Archives | meyer lemons

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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?

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Dehydrating Meyer Lemons and Limes

dehydrating lemons

It’s been spring for more than two weeks now, but today I finally felt it. I walked to work without a coat, though my down-the-hall neighbor did raise an eyebrow at my wardrobe choice as we rode the elevator downstairs together (my mother need not worry, living in a building with hundreds of retired Jewish women means I never lack for vocal commentary on my seasonal appropriateness. I have been told to go home and get an umbrella on multiple occasions).

dehydrating lemons

Last week, before this balmy weather arrived, I was doing everything I could to brighten both my mood and the state of the kitchen and so tackled one final citrus preservation project. This one is so easy that I feel a little silly even mentioning it, but the pictures came out so nicely that it would be a shame not to share them.

dehydrating lemons

I scrubbed two pounds of citrus (half Meyer lemons, half limes), dried them and cut them into slices between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick. I pulled out my very basic dehydrator, laid the slices out on the trays and dehydrated them for 18 hours on the 135 degree setting.

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Stashed in tightly sealed jars, these slices should last for a very long time. I like to pop one into the water bottle I use each day, so that it rehydrates and gently scents the water with the flavor of fruit.

A few thoughts. If you do this, make sure to keep them going until they are entirely dry. Leaving them with any liquid means you run the risk of having them go bad quite soon. Store them out of the sunlight to further extend their lifespan. The one thing I haven’t done yet that I’m planning on trying is to pulverize them in a food process or blender and see if I can’t make citrus powder with them. I think that would be a nice touch in salad dressings and other good stuff.

If you don’t have a dehydrator, I’ve heard that you can achieve a similar effect in a very low oven (I have not tried it, but Kevin West has). Make sure to put the fruit on a rack so that the air can circulate and moisture can evaporate. I bet a convection oven would do a good job as well.

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Meyer Lemon Curd

meyer lemons

The first time I tasted lemon curd, I fell powerfully and intensely in love with its tart creaminess. I was 11 years old and my family had received a jar of homemade lemon curd from my cousins in Walnut Creek, CA. They kept chickens in their backyard, had lemon trees out front and so made jars of curd using these homegrown ingredients to send to friends and family for the holidays.

egg yolk star

For a few days, I kept up the charade of sharing this sunshiny jar with my parents and sister, dutifully dolloping scant spoonfuls onto toast. However, on the third day, I couldn’t continue to resist. I removed the half-full jar from the fridge, snuck to my room and ate the rest of that amazing curd with a spoon. I am not to be trusted when it comes to lemon curd.

zesting

Speaking of meyer lemons. One of the magical things about Southern California is that they just grow on trees there. I was born in Los Angeles and for my first nine years lived amidst that magical bounty. Our Hawaiian mailman taught me to eat the tender bossoms from the the guava tree along our front walkway and my grandma Bunny had a tree that produced heaps of sweet/tart meyer lemons each year (my mom used to squeeze them and freeze the juice into ice cubes). Having lived in colder climates for the last 21 years, I am startled when I am reminded that there are places where people can just walk outside and pick citrus (and that I was once one of them).

lemon halves

For those of you who have yet to taste a meyer lemon, they’re thinner skinned and sweeter than your typical lemon. They are also intensely fragrant, and give this curd a lovely, delicate taste/aroma.

butter (unsalted is best)

Making curd is time consuming, but once your ingredients are all assembled, it goes quickly. This basic recipe makes just a single pint, but happily you can easily double or triple it without any ill effects. Separate six eggs, tucking the whites into a jar for later use (I’m thinking of making a batch of meringue cookies tomorrow). Zest three juicy meyer lemons (make sure to pick ones that seem heavy for their size). Juice the lemons (always buy one extra, in case you don’t get quite enough juice).

adding butter

Measure out 1 cup of sugar and set a heavy bottomed pot over low heat. Whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar. Pour in the lemon juice and switch to a wooden spoon for stirring (using a whisk past the initial step will aerate your curd and your final product won’t be silken). Don’t worry if you get a few bits of cooked eggs spread throughout your curd, a quick trip through a fine mesh sieve at the end will take care of them.

two half-pints of lemon curd

When the sugar, egg yolk and lemon juice have thickened (it takes 10-15 minutes of cooking over very low heat and near-constant stirring to get to this point), stir in the butter until it’s melted. Remove the pot from the heat and pour the curd through a mesh sieve that you’ve perched over a glass or stainless steel bowl. Gently work the curd through the sieve with a wooden spoon, taking care not to pulverize any of those cooked egg bits to the point where they’re small enough to get through the mesh. Whisk in the lemon zest and pour the lemon curd into your prepared jars.

curd from above

You can process lemon curd to make it shelf stable, but it doesn’t have the shelf life of other jams and preserves. You won’t want to keep it more than two months (but with something this good, I truly doubt you’ll have it hanging around that long). Process half and quarter pints in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes (starting the timer when the water returns to a boil so that they get the full effect of 20 minutes of boiling water processing).

For those of you who like recipes in a traditional format, sans narrative, it is after the jump.

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