Winter is spilling over into its sixth month, bringing snow and freezing temperatures once again to our northern city. At dinner yesterday I tried to look on the bright side: “At least we don’t have to mow the lawn”, then slumped back into my chair, sighing over the elusive spring and her warm winds.
Last month I collected myself and resolutely embraced winter salads, but early March found me longing for fruit other than lackluster apples. Spurred on by fellow home preserving enthusiasts, Marisa and Autumn, I treated myself to a box of Meyer lemons from Lemon Ladies Orchard in California.
In record time the lemons arrived in good shape, and opening the box was better than unwrapping a Christmas present. The sweet smell perfumed my kitchen instantly and almost as quickly, my head began to swirl with ideas.
I was smitten.
This small shipment was just the inspiration I needed in the kitchen and the prefect antidote to winter blahs. I set aside most of the Meyer lemons for preserving, but zested a few into madeleines for breakfast, and roasted a couple others with potatoes. I had grand ideas for cheesecake and custards, but alas, my stocks dwindled quickly.
On Friday I scrubbed my kitchen clean with my homemade lemon-scented cleaner, and on Saturday, after a pancake breakfast, I started on my preserving projects. Here’s a look at the results which hopefully provide inspiration for your own lemon party. Maybe it can take your mind off of Spring, and her delayed arrival.
These ideas and recipes can work with regular lemons as well, so don’t be stalled if you can’t find Meyer lemons in your area.
Meyer Lemon Marmalade
It’s been two whole years since I’ve made a batch of marmalade. What-the-what? That’s just crazy. As this Pink Grapefruit & Pomegranate Marmalade was spread on toast and enjoyed loooong ago, I was the most excited about revisiting marmalade, and chopped my lemons with gusto.
I followed Marisa’s Meyer Lemon Marmalade recipe in her cookbook Food in Jars, and as per usual, the results were perfect: a thick, pretty golden spread that is bursting with flavor and full of deliciously chewy, candied lemon rind.
If you don’t yet own the Food in Jars cookbook but want to make Meyer lemon marmalade, Marisa says you can follow this recipe, just swap in Meyer lemons for the blood oranges. Strawberry Meyer Lemon Marmalade is another great alternative if you are a fan of mixed fruit spreads.
Meyer Lemon Sugar
I’ll be rationing out this perfumed Meyer lemon-scented sugar in the weeks to come, sprinkling it over yogurt, poached fruit, and pancakes, as well as baking it into delicate cakes and soft shortbread cookies. It’s so simple to make, I’m considering gifting jars of it to Noah’s school teachers come June and school end.
I used about 1 cup of sugar per lemon, zesting the citrus right into the bowl of sugar. The lemons are small though, so depending on the size of your lemons, you could probably have more of a 1.5 cups of sugar/zest of lemon ratio.
To finish the sugar, massage the zest and the sugar together until combined, then spread it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place in a very slow (150F) oven for about 10 minutes or until the zest has dried. Cool, then crumble the lemon sugar in your hands until it is free of lumps. Transfer to an airtight jar and store at room temperature.
Meyer Lemon Infused Vodka
Right now, this is just a quick infusion of three Meyer lemons, quartered, and covered in about a cup of vodka. I’ll let it sit for a month or so, then perhaps add sugar, or maybe try this limoncello recipe. Anyway, I’ve got time to decide. This project can only result in something good!
Salt-Preserved Meyer Lemons
Preserved lemons are a wonderful way to insert a small burst of flavor into pastas, salads, fish plates and appetizers. Marisa recently shared a recipe for Spiced Preserved Lemons, which is simple and uses the whole lemon, but I like to juice a few lemons, add that to the salt to make a sort of slurry, then pack the lemons in it. Both methods yield good results.
I haven’t made preserved lemons in years, so I’m looking forward to cooking with these in a few months.
Meyer Lemon Finishing Salt
Next to my precious marmalade, I was the most tickled about my small batch of lemon salt for finishing dishes like whole roast fish and salads, garnishing grilled foods, or just simply sprinkling on popcorn. It’s fast to make and absolutely wonderful to have on hand; I’m including the recipe in hopes that you give it a try.
|Meyer Lemon Finishing Salt||
- 1/2 cup sea salt (I used gray)
- 2 small Meyer lemons, scrubbed
- Preheat the oven to 150F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and measure salt into the middle of the paper.
- Zest the lemons directly onto the salt, then rub the zest into the salt with your finger tips.
- Spread the salt evenly around the pan and place in the oven.
- Bake for about 15 minutes until the salt feels dry and the zest looks dehydrated.
- Remove pan from oven and let cool completely. Break apart any chunks with your fingers, then transfer to a jar and seal
How do you like to use lemons and other winter citrus?