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Jan 1, 2008 09:08 PM

What to do with too many Meyer lemons

It's been a good year for our lemon tree. We've given so much fruit to our friends and neighbors that they hide when they see us coming. We have preserved enough lemons to supply an entire Moroccan neighborhood for the forseeable future. We've eaten Shaker lemon pie until our teeth are rotting and my belt is bursting. There are a few gallons of lemon juice in the freezer waiting for the lemonade days of summer. Meanwhile, Meyer lemon hot toddies have gotten old. And while Meyer limoncello seems like a good idea, it can only use up a tiny fraction of the hundreds of lemons that will go to waste unless we can find a way to use them, preserve them, or give them away.

Any suggestions?

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  1. Are you into canning? I just made some terrific Meyer lemon marmarlade from a recipe in the big yellow Gourmet cookbook.

    5 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      JoanN, that recipe worked for you? I screwed it up. Mine came out not sweet enough, and the fruit was not soft enough. But I didn't want to throw it out so I've been using it as a condiment with cold meat, the way I'd use chutney.

      1. re: NYCkaren

        How odd. Yes, mine was very definitely sweet enough and the fruit soft enough. I haven't opened the sealed jars yet; I'm still working on the not-quite-full jar that went directly into the refrigerator. But I can't imagine that would be any different from the others. In fact, I thought it was so good, I'm thinking of making another batch while Meyer lemons are still easy to come by. I'm wondering if our lemons could have been that different from one another? I bought mine at Fairway. I mean, really; to what else could your lack of success possibly be attributed?

        1. re: JoanN

          I bought mine at Chelsea Market. I suppose the lemons could be different.

          I think I spotted a Meyer lemon marmalade recipe in "Dolce Italiano." I might try that one next time I get the urge.

          My grandparents had a Meyer lemon tree in their L.A. back yard, so whenever I cook with them the smell and taste remind me of Christmas at their house. They're my madeleines, if you will.

          1. re: NYCkaren

            Yes, there is a Meyer lemon marmalade in "Dolce Italiano." The only reason I didn't use that one--and in retrospect it was very foolish of me--was that the recipe makes 5 half-pints and she says it only keeps in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. No way I could use that amount in that amount of time. It only now occurs to me--was I having a senior moment?--that I could just as easily have water-bathed the "Dolce" recipe.

            I've never even seen a Meyer lemon tree. My only association, before they began to be available in NYC, was exotic fruit that foodie friends never brought enough of back from CA. What a pleasure for us right coasters that we, too, can now enjoy the bounty.

            1. re: JoanN

              Joan - I know this is a bit OT - maybe you can reply on Manhattan - but where are you seeing Meyer lemons? I want to stock up, and just got back from two weeks away.

    2. Although this could involve more leg work than you'd like, you might try seeing if local restaurants or bakeries might want to buy them from you at a low, low price. Back when Phoenix Pastaficio in Berkeley was running their cafe they would actually put out a sign early in the citrus season, offering to purchase Meyer Lemons for something like $1 or $2 per lb.

      1. CURD! It's delicious with pound cake or as a filling for a tart. It can also be folded into whipped cream for lemon mousse. And it holds for a pretty long time in the fridge. Enjoy!

        4 Replies
        1. re: jenhen2

          how about sharing some with a food pantry.

          1. re: LaLa

            LaLa, great idea. If the food pantry doesn't take "perishables" like fresh fruit, give some to favorite local restaurants. I take mine to a pastry chef who loves to make Meyer lemon desserts. She's always more than happy to take them. She "treats" me well in return!

            Another option, in late fall, when olives are ripening, make a few calls to local olive ranchers. Many of the smaller boutique labels are pressing flavored oils. Many of mine go to friends with an olive oil business.

          2. re: jenhen2

            Yep, I made and canned some Meyer lemon curd for the holidays, and it was great. Just use a regular lemon curd recipe and reduce the sugar (but use some of the zest to flavor the curd, and just strain at the end).

            1. This isn't going to help much, but this recipe for lemon & honey greens was in our morning paper.


              2 Replies
              1. re: danhole

                Not much help indeed! The recipe calls for a few slices of lemon to be set aside, but never indicates that they should be added to the dish. Hard to use them up at that rate ;-)

                Thanks for the recipe, though. Sounds like it will go well with the shish kebobs that are on Friday's menu.

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  I should have looked closer at the actual recipe! All I focused on was Meyer lemon. Oops!