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Meyer Lemons


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Looks like the Meyer lemon tree I bought this spring is about two present me with two ripe fruits. Do any of you have any brilliant ideas how best to showcase their enticing flavor? I don't want to just substitute them for regular lemons where the unique flavor might be lost.

In the winter when they're available in the grocery stores I use them for lemon curd, which freezes really well and forms a great base for icings or sauce for cakes. I also just like lemon curd on hot fresh biscuits. And then there's Meyer lemon ice cream (my favorite ice cream flavor). How about panna cotta...? Any other ideas?

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Looks like the Meyer lemon tree I bought this spring is about two present me with two ripe fruits.  Do any of you have any brilliant ideas how best to showcase their enticing flavor?  I don't want to just substitute them for regular lemons where the unique flavor might be lost.

In the winter when they're available in the grocery stores I use them for lemon curd, which freezes really well and forms a great base for icings or sauce for cakes.  I also just like lemon curd on hot fresh biscuits.  And then there's Meyer lemon ice cream (my favorite ice cream flavor).  How about panna cotta...?  Any other ideas?

Lucky you! My "ancestral" home has a Meyer lemon tree in the front yard, so we use it for anything lemon. How about trying sorbet or supplementing them with more lemons and making some homemade limoncello? Also, they are easy to preserve, and can be used to make lamb tagines. I also have a couple of sproutlings growing on my windowsill here - for when I get homesick.
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When I have a large number of Meyer lemons, I make preserved lemons. I also cut the peel off two or three and shove them down into a bottle of potato vodka, and let it sit for two or three weeks before using--then I keep it in the freezer. Drink neat with caviar or smoked fish. I also cut the peels off two or three lemons, then put them in the blender with a liter of Spanish extra virgin olive oil, and grind at fairly low speed to release the essential oil from the peel. Then pour the whole mess into a clean quart jar or bottle, and let it sit in a dark cupboard for about a month to six weeks. Strain the oil through moist cheesecloth into a clean bottle. Voila! Intense lemon-olive oil for salad dressing, drizzling on veggies, on bowls of soup, whatever. It's one of my staples.

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In the book, Cooking for Mr. Latte, the author has a couple of recipes using Meyer lemons. One that stands out is a pasta dish that I quite can't remember what exactly was in it but according to her, 'twas good. (Apologies for the spotty memory, my brain's on cold medication...)

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I was lucky enough to receive a Meyer lemon from a friend's tree. I made a risotto with it, microplaning the zest and then adding the juice. It was delicious with steamed Dungeness crabs.

Last Thursday I saw Meyer lemons in a bag at Wegmans. My recollection is that they came to about a buck each--maybe 6 in a bag for 5.99? Sounds like a deal to me!

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A couple of weeks ago I made a Meyer lemon cheesecake with a gingersnap cookie crust, using Rose Levy Baranbaum's method/recipe. I took it to a school committee meeting, and everyone flipped out over it. Several East-coasters had never heard of Meyer lemons and were completely beguiled by the flavor.

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In case anyone's interested, Meyer lemon panna cotta:

Place the zest of one Meyer lemon in a jar with 1/2 cup whole milk and place in the refrigerator for one to two hours (no longer). Strain into a pot and add 1 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup sugar, and scald. While this is scalding, soften two teaspoons gelatin in 1/4 cup milk. Stir this into the scalded mixture. Strain into lightly buttered ramekins. Chill for at least two hours (longer if you want to unmold it).

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If the lemons are firm, they will easily keep for a week in the fridge. I got a sackful of Meyers fresh from California a month ago, kept them on my back porch, which is insulated but unheated, and the last few lemons are still good, just starting to soften a little. I made lemon vodka, lemon olive oil, and packed a dozen in kosher salt for preserved lemons.

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Interesting.  Do you think the qualities of the Meyer lemon that make it special compared to a regular ole' lemon come through in the preserved lemon state?

Yes. I've done it before with Meyers, which are closer to a sour-ish tangerine than a Eureka lemon, in my book. Salted Meyers have a gentler tang.

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Just ordered a couple of Meyer lemons from the online farmer's market at Star Hollow Farm; I'll get them Saturday. Can't decide whether to salt-pack them, or try to use one in a cocktail. Or maybe just pop half inside a chicken while it roasts?

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Just ordered a couple of Meyer lemons from the online farmer's market at Star Hollow Farm; I'll get them Saturday. Can't decide whether to salt-pack them, or try to use one in a cocktail. Or maybe just pop half inside a chicken while it roasts?

Take the zest of one lemon and whiz it up in the blender with a generous cup of olive oil. Let it sit for a few days in a jar, then strain the oil through several layers of wet cheesecloth. Then you can use a few drops of the oil to give a finishing touch of intense Meyer lemon flavor to all kinds of dishes. Use the juice of that lemon to make a cocktail. I take the zest of several Meyer lemons and blend with a liter of EVOO, let it sit in a jar in a dark cabinet for a couple of weeks, then strain the oil. I use it for finishing veggies, fish, salad. It's my go-to finishing flavor. And it keeps far beyond Meyer lemon season. I give pretty bottles of Meyer lemon olive oil as Christmas gifts to close friends, and it is really appreciated.

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Just ordered a couple of Meyer lemons from the online farmer's market at Star Hollow Farm

make lemon curd with them, then make some buttermilk biscuits to go with. The leftover curd (if there is any) freezes beautifully.

Meyer Lemon Curd

Whisk together 2 t grated Meyer lemon rind, 1/2 c juice, 1/2 c sugar, and 3 large eggs. Add 3 oz butter cut into pieces. Cook in a metal bowl over simmering water, whisking until thick and smooth (about 5 minutes; 160F). Force thru a sieve and cover with wax paper until cool. Keeps a week in the fridge and many months in the freezer.

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In case anyone's interested,  Meyer lemon panna cotta:

Place the zest of one Meyer lemon in a jar with 1/2 cup whole milk and place in the refrigerator for one to two hours (no longer).  Strain into a pot and add 1 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup sugar, and scald.  While this is scalding, soften two teaspoons gelatin in 1/4 cup milk.  Stir this into the scalded mixture.  Strain into lightly buttered ramekins.  Chill for at least two hours (longer if you want to unmold it).

Yummy recipe, Elizabeth. I made this for a dinner on Saturday and it was a big hit. I poured the cream into martini glasses to serve from. Tried putting a raspberry sauce on the bottom and then adding the panna cotta, but the bottom layer wasn't thick enough to stay unmixed with the cream. So instead I just had the panna cotta layer and swirled raspberry sauce on top for serving. The first bite really highlighted the meyer lemon flavor; after that the raspberries kind of overpowered it.

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silentbob, I paid $.60/lemon but don't know whether that's a good price or not.

I made pork chops with a mustard/lemon pan sauce on Saturday so it was the perfect chance to try out some juice. It gave the sauce a really lovely herby flavor. I'm roasting a chicken tomorrow so that will take care of the remaining half of the first lemon.

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Yummy recipe, Elizabeth.  <snip> the panna cotta <snip>

Glad you liked it. If you like playing around, try extracting other flavors in milk/cream - other citrus, coffee, cinnamon - to get flavorful but totally smooth-textured panna cotta. For that matter, I use the same technique to make flavored ice creams.

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I made the meyer lemon relish from Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook last night. It was excellent served with spiced shrimp and pan-seared scallops.

Macerate finely diced shallot in tablespoon (regular) lemon juice or white wine vinegar and pinch salt (about 15 minutes). Sliver a meyer lemon: cut into 8 wedges, then in half lengthwise again (discarding seeds and core), and then slice into thin slivers crosswise. Add lemon to shallots, plus 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley, 1 Tbsp. chopped chives (or chervil). Salt and pepper.

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April is the very end of the season. Best ones are around December, I think.

If you want to preserve the lemons, I'd recommend following a recipe from Paula Wolfert or epicurious for use in tagines or savory dishes. Freeze juice in ice cube trays or make marmalade.

Earlier in the year, I made a jar of confit using a recipe from Marlena Spieler in NYT. It was supposed to be cooked for a very short period of time and used for a tart. Finding the results far too liquid to simply jar and spoon into yogurt, etc., I continued cooking it down until very concentrated. I ended up with something too intense and unpleasantly bitter.

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Maybe mktye can help here, but there doesn't seem to be anything in that recipe to make the cake rise. If you follow this as written, you are likely to wind up with a flat, dense, cookie-like thing instead of a "cake."
From the photo that accompanies it, I think it's probably meant to be fairly compact, like a cornbread made in a skillet.
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From the photo that accompanies it, I think it's probably meant to be fairly compact, like a cornbread made in a skillet.
Yeah, but even skillet corn bread has some baking powder/soda in it. The fact that it's cooked in a skillet isn't what concerns me.
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Yeah, but even skillet corn bread has some baking powder/soda in it. The fact that it's cooked in a skillet isn't what concerns me.
I left a comment asking if there is supposed to be a leavening ingredient in it. I notice that it doesn't even speciify salt.
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Maybe mktye can help here, but there doesn't seem to be anything in that recipe to make the cake rise. If you follow this as written, you are likely to wind up with a flat, dense, cookie-like thing instead of a "cake."
I concur with Barbara, unless you are whisking the heck out of the eggs, I'm not sure what will make this rise to the amount shown in the picture. The butter is melted, so it is not holding any air either.

Regarding the salt -- it does not call for unsalted butter, so that might be the source of the salt. Please let us know what if anyone responds to your comment, Pat. I'd also like know if there are ingredients missing from the recipe.

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I concur with Barbara, unless you are whisking the heck out of the eggs, I'm not sure what will make this rise to the amount shown in the picture. The butter is melted, so it is not holding any air either.

Regarding the salt -- it does not call for unsalted butter, so that might be the source of the salt. Please let us know what if anyone responds to your comment, Pat. I'd also like know if there are ingredients missing from the recipe.

The reply: "no, no chemical leavening is used."

I'll try to get my hands on some meyer lemons while they're still around and give this a try. I'll use salted butter to be on the safe side.

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Made Rhubarb-Strawberry-Mango Compote last night, modifying recipe from Deborah Madison:

1 1/2 lbs. rhubarb, trimmed, washed & sliced into 1/2 in. pieces

1/4 t salt

3/4 c sugar (I actually used a little less given personal preferences & next ingredient; recipe calls for 1 cup)

Crystallized ginger (amount according to personal taste; keep in mind amount of sugar coating pieces), chopped fine

1 Meyer lemon

1 pint strawberries (good to do with mediocre container), hulled and quartered

1 Champagne mango, peeled and diced

1. Toss first 4 ingredients into saucepan and then zest lemon (I use microplane grater, making sure just to remove orange peel in thin flecks, leaving white pith) over contents.

2. Cut lemon into two domes to juice and pour juice into saucepan. Mix until vegetable (rhubarb) thoroughly coated w sugar & zest.

3. Put items in second list in bowl large enough to accommodate cooked rhubarb mixture.

4. Stew rhubarb over medium heat, stirring fairly frequently if not constantly, to make sure all pieces spend some time on the bottom of the pan, close to heat as sugar dissolves with some of the rhubarb. Adjust heat to low if necessary. In about 10-15 minutes (or less; test after 5 mins.), all the rhubarb should be tender, some pieces liquified, others still quite intact but soft when pierced with knife or fork.

5. Pour hot contents of the pan into the bowl of uncooked fruit and stir. Let sit until cool and chill.

Great with plain, tart yogurt and sprinkling of granola for breakfast or for dessert, with vanilla ice cream and thin gingersnaps or hand-cracked ice cream made with organic Hawaiian gingerroot, or strawberry frozen yogurt, mango sorbet, Meyer-lemon buttermilk cake, Angel-food...

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How is a Neyer lemon different from a regular old Sunkist? Can one tell the difference by sight?
The Meyer lemon is smaller than most regular lemons, rounder, with a smoother skin which is a slightly orange-ish yellow. So yes, you can generally tell the difference by sight. The flesh/juice of the Meyer lemon is less aggressively acidic than that of a regular lemon.
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The reply: "no, no chemical leavening is used."

Pat, I made the cake this afternoon with a slight modification, and the result is fantastic! Thank you so much for posting it - it's going into the permanent index card file. I've been looking for quick desserts that I can make at a moment's notice without going to the grocery store. I'm sure the recipe would work just as well with regular lemons.

When I first read it, I figured it was bogus and wouldn't work. Reading it again today, I realized that the method is a lazy-man's genoise. My modification was to beat the eggs with a hand electric mixer for a long time (but not over hot water), until thick and pale yadda yadda, and work in the sugar-lemon zest mixture slowly, beating all the while to keep the mixture nice and thick. I folded in the flour quickly but very gently with a rubber scraper, then the butter the same way. Oh, and since I use unsalted butter I added 1/4 t salt to the batter, which was perfect.

The resulting cake has a texture a bit like genoise, but with an unusual top crust of sorts - kinda like the very thin layer of brown on top of a baked meringue. The flavor is dramatically lemony, maybe a bit too much for me, but that's easily fixed.

Gubeen and I were brainstorming about how to serve it. I'd like to try an apricot jam glaze and a layer of blueberries (you'd have to serve it right away, though). Or to keep it really simple, a nice spoonful of unsweetened whipped cream and impeccably fresh berries on the side.

An aside to Hersch - don't know where your Meyers are comin' from, but the ones off my tree are about twice the size of normal lemons. The ones in the stores are small, though. I think there's quite a bit of natural variation in size.

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An aside to Hersch - don't know where your Meyers are comin' from, but the ones off my tree are about twice the size of normal lemons. The ones in the stores are small, though. I think there's quite a bit of natural variation in size.
Really? All I know is the ones I've seen in stores, and they've always always always been smaller than ordinary lemons. And I didn't know you could successfully grow lemons in this climate. You can? Anyway, your cake sounds really good.
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Indoors, as a houseplant. A single tree isn't very productive, but it can be done.

My neighbor, across the street, has done this also. She started it from a cutting from her San Francisco mother-in-law's tree. It's in the house during the winter, and goes out into the yard in summer. She gets a fair number of lemons from it every year.

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Pat, I made the cake this afternoon with a slight modification, and the result is fantastic! Thank you so much for posting it - it's going into the permanent index card file. I've been looking for quick desserts that I can make at a moment's notice with going to the grocery store. I'm sure the recipe would work just as well with regular lemons.
Thanks for the report. I'm making note of the specifics of your procedure.

I checked at the Whole Foods in Clarendon on my most recent shopping trip and they're sold out of meyer lemons. I don't know if this means the end of the season or not. I may try it with regular lemons.

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I make preserved lemons with them every year and they are delicious, although you may need to add a little more salt than the recipe suggests due to the higher juice content. I brought a bag back from my recent trip to my parents' house in Florida. They are worried this cold snap is going to kill the citrus trees. :angry:

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Picked up some Meyer Lemons at Shoppers' Food Warehouse (Potomac Yard) on Sunday. Not a bad price at $2.49 for a bag of 7 - and I got lucky and found a bag of 8 :)

I'm thinking about following Zora's instructions for a cold infused oil. Is there any benefit/difference between a hot and cold infusion methods, other than time?

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