And on the eighth day, God created lemons!
Where would we be without this perfect little fruit. It is used in so many ways – to brighten and enhance the taste of already delicious foods. . . What would fish be without a squeeze of lemon? How about using the grated rind of a lemon, mixed with a little fresh thyme and combined with butter – rubbed on chicken before roasting . . . Try to imagine summer without lemonade, grilling without lemon-pepper, or – heaven forbid – a lemon meringue pie – without the lemon. I haven’t even touched on the cleaning power of lemon.
Although few would ever eat a lemon by itself, the world would be very dull without them.
Those who have never had a mature lemon tree cannot appreciate the volume of fruit one tree can produce. And yet, as the owner of several different varieties of lemon trees, there can never be too many lemons!
Many people prefer the Improved Meyer Lemon. It is a native of China and is believed to be a cross between a lemon and and mandarin orange. The peel is thin and a deep yellow-orange color and tastes and smells more like an herb than a lemon (which is why I don’t use them in recipes that call for lemon peel – unless they specify Meyer Lemon peel). The flesh of the Meyer lemon is very dark yellow. They are much sweeter than a standard lemon (Eureka or Lisbon) and are only moderately acidic – which for some, makes them more palatable – but is the reason why their juice should not be used in canning – to acidify low-acid foods. They are most plentiful from December through May.
The standard lemon – typically the Eureka or Lisbon variety – is larger than the Meyer lemon. The peel is much thicker, has more texture, and smells and tastes like lemon. The pulp is very yellow – lemony and bright. They are moderately sweet and highly acidic – which gives them their ability to make your mouth pucker -(and makes them suitable for use in canning – to acidify low-acid foods)! Are you salivating yet? Standard lemons are available year round (thank goodness!). . . . and are the stuff that heaven is made of! They are my favorite for using in cooking.
Although there is nothing like the taste of lemons fresh off the tree, they store and travel well and no matter where you live, fresh lemons are available in the produce section of the grocery store. However you can acquire them, bring some home and put these pucker-powered work-horses to work!
Stay tuned for some of my favorite ways to use lemons. . . . . .