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Apr 4, 2009 12:05 PM

Meyer lemons - my new favorite thing ever

I've been hearing about Meyer lemons for a while, but I'd never tasted them until a few days ago I saw them at the grocery store and bought a bag on a whim. Why didn't anybody tell me these things were so incredible?!? I've totally fallen in love; since Tuesday I've gone through most of a 2-lb bag. (No vitamin C deficiencies here!) I squeezed some into oatmeal with some cardamom, there's a jar of them preserving in the back of my fridge, I've even peeled and eaten a few like oranges (love that just-barely-sweet-enough-to-eat sour tang). My hands were all blistered and dry from work and winter weather yesterday, so I filled a bowl with hot water, sea salt, Meyer lemon juice, vanilla, and honey and soaked my hands in them; they came out soft and smelling amazing - which gave me the idea that a custard or cheesecake made from the juice, honey, and vanilla would be beyond delicious. Along the same lines, I'm drinking seltzer, Meyer lemon juice, and vanilla right now - yum! (Next time I'm adding rum.) Any other devotees out there?

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  1. I'm with you, sistah! Costco just got them and I worked right through a whole container. First used the juice and the zest in low carb cheese cake, then juice and zest on steamed asparagus with butter (pretty presentation), and today put zest and juice into the brown sugar/butter mixture for the candied yams and apples I was asked to bring to a family dinner. Much nicer fragrance, flavor and color, I'm in love.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mcf

      I'll check Costco and see if they have them here. A friend gave me 3# from one of her trees. I kept meaning to "do" something with them. They just stayed in the brown bag in the fridge for at least a month while I used them up one or two at a time. Never went bad. I love them also.

    2. Rum and Canton Ginger liqueur would be really good too..

      1. Love these, too. Better hurry, though, season's almost over.

        1. You sound like my roommate when she got 300-thread count sheets: "Why didn't you tell me?" "I did tell you!" "No, why didn't you TELL me?"

          Meyer lemons are fabulous. You're right that they're not as sour as "regular" lemons, so you can't always do a direct substitution -- sometimes you have to decrease the amount of sugar, or increase the amount of lemon, and for some recipes I wouldn't use Meyers at all -- some recipes you really need the acidity of regular lemons.

          Don't throw out the peels: candied Meyer lemon peels are delicious. As you suggested, I think Meyer lemons shine brightest in combination with eggs and/or dairy where the fat content seems to enhance their flavor even more. If you like lemon curd, Meyer lemon curd is amazing. I've made Meyer lemon pot de creme and Meyer lemon bars (you definitely need to reduce the sugar for this), too.

          Here's the Meyer lemon curd recipe I used:

          10 Replies
          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            That's kind of what I feel like - I mean sure I'd heard of them, but damn... I'd thought about a curd, but I like the pot d creme idea even more. Definitely gonna give that a shot.

            1. re: Emmmily

              This is the recipe I use:

              Meyer lemon pot de creme (from a recipe in Fields of Greens)

              2 whole eggs
              8 egg yolks
              2 1/2 cups heavy cream
              1 1/4 cups sugar

              1 cup Meyer Lemon juice (about 6-8 lemons)
              1 tsp. lemon zest (about one lemon)

              Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar thoroughly, and then whisk in the cream and finally the lemon juice. Strain though a fine wire mesh or cheesecloth (if there's no pulp or seeds in your lemon juice you don't have to do this, but you'll get a more "refined" product), then stir in the lemon zest. Place ramekins (or custard cups) in a larger baking pan, fill with mixture, add water to pan until it's halfway up the sides of the cups, place in oven and bake 45 minutes or until custard is almost set in the center (it will continue to cook after it comes out of the oven). Although the recipe calls for this to be served at room temperature or even chilled, I think it's best still warm from the oven -- like fragrant lemon clouds. I put it in the oven when I serve the first course and its usually ready to come out of the oven when I'm clearing the table from the mains. The dishes come to serving temperature while you're making coffee (or tea, or whatever) -- perfect timing! You can garnish with a little extra zest, or some candied citrus peel, and I usually put some kind of cookie (shortbread, amaretti -- something buttery and/or nutty) on the side. Listen to your guests swoon and watch them scrape their dishes!

              Makes 8 six-ounce servings.

              You can use regular lemons (although it won't be as fabulous) -- just increase the sugar by 1/4 cup.

            2. re: Ruth Lafler

              I remember growing up having these "lemons that don't taste like lemons," around at my parents' home in LA. They have a Meyer lemon tree, as does their next door neighbor. Never needing lemons from the market, but having tasted and liking the bright flavor and color of the Eurekas, I hated our lemons. I thought something was wrong with the trees - maybe diseased or something - until one of my father's friends mentioned that he wanted to take a branch to graft it on to his lemon tree. I warned, "But they don't taste like lemons - are you sure about this?" He responded, "Those are Meyer lemons. Bakers will pay you for these. They don't sell these in stores and not too many farms grow this kind of lemon." Now that I'm older and more appreciative of the Meyer's qualities, I'm more accepting of these lemons, but my parents still hit me up with way too many - like now. Sometimes they'll drop by with a bag or two almost every day. What's that saying about lemons and lemonade?

              1. re: bulavinaka

                Meyer lemons were hit with a disease in the '40s and were banned until they came out with a disease-resistant strain around 1970. All the commercial plantings were destroyed, which meant that for many years (even after 1970 -- it took a while for commercial growers to realize that people would pay a premium for Meyer lemons, which made up for the fact that they're somewhat more delicate than "regular" lemons and don't keep and ship as well) the only ones available were the ones in people's yards, which made them rare and prized.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Then these were definitely "survivors" of that era. My parents bought their 1952-built home back in 1960 and the little lemon tree was already there, as was her neighbor's. I guess we lucked out and didn't even know it. Thanks for that cool piece of info!

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Interesting, never knew that. My moms tree has been there one of the 3 since the 50's. Hearty little sucker

                  2. re: bulavinaka

                    Feel free to ship those pesky extras my way, I'll gladly take them off your hands. Stopped by Gristedes today and all they had was one very sad-looking bag. Hopefully I'll have better luck at Whole Foods tomorrow.

                    Candied some peels today. Man. Yum.

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      I felt the same way about my Meyer lemon tree. I wanted those Eurekas with their true lemon snap. Then I started using them to make my own limoncello. Now, I can't have too many Meyers and the tree can't keep up with demand.

                      1. re: EdwardAdams

                        Meyer lemon limoncello is amazing. The alcohol just enhances the complex floral aromatics unique to Meyer lemons.

                  3. Great on seafood, any kind. Drinks are great. I made a simple lemon sugar cookie which was very good. Over vegetables is asparagus, broccoli, beans. Use for a lemon risotta. Best lemon risotta you ever had.

                    I marinade chicken in it with pepper, garlic and fresh thyme and cook. After pan sauteing I add a little shallot, white wine and some lemon juice and butter. A very light sauce. Great for Veal Picatta too.

                    The best hollandaise ever

                    I love it with club soda, tea, I put some in my vernos for a little tang. Any mixed drink is really good. Freeze the juice in cubes and take one out when you want a glass of soda,

                    White wine spritzer with the lemon and a squeeze of mango juice is wonderful. The mango gives it a sweetness and the lemon a little tang.

                    Luckily my mom has a tree, so I have more than I could possibly ever eat.

                    Rather than mojitos with lime and mint, try the lemon, just as good.

                    Also, I sometimes just take plain white rice, add some fresh herbs thyme and a little parsley, pepper a little butter and lemon juice and zest. A simple fresh quick 1 minute fix to a plain rice and is great with a piece of grilled fish.

                    The best scallops, lemon juice, garlic, thyme and pepper, grill or pan sear and then in the pan add some vodka, just 1/4 cup then some heavy cream and more fresh thyme and then remove from the heat add some zest and a little more juice. Drizzle over the scallops.

                    The most amazing sauteed spinach as well.

                    Ok, the list goes on and on and on.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: kchurchill5

                      I hear ya. Thanks for the ideas! I've read that they were originally grown mostly as a houseplant in china, toying with the idea of getting a potted tree for my living room (no way they'd survive a New York winter outdoors).

                      1. re: Emmmily

                        Probably, one of the perks of FL living. I love them. Nothing better. Spoiled with the abundance.

                        1. re: Emmmily

                          Definitely give a tree a try if you love them so much! I live in NJ and have a Meyer lemon tree that has been pretty prolific through the years (I typically get at least 6-7 lemons each year). I keep it outside on the patio during the spring and summer and bring it into my unheated sunroom for the winter.
                          It's a beautiful little tree and looks especially lovely when it's full of fragrant blossoms.
                          I'm always on the lookout for special recipes for the few treasured lemons I get, and I'm definitely going to try that pot de creme recipe. I love lemon curd and have usually used them for that in the past.

                        2. re: kchurchill5

                          Will you elaborate on the quantities for your chicken marinade? I got beautiful Myers at the farmers market yesterday.

                          1. re: ElissaInPlaya

                            Sure I take 1 meyer and juice, mix that with , pepper 1 teaspoon fresh thyme and a 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 tablespoon garlic and marinade. Usually all day, just in a baggie. Make it easy. Then I like to season with lemon pepper if you have it and kosher salt and then grill outside in a cast iron or inside either is just fine. I use a mix of butter and olive oil. After a few minutes when brown on both sides, remove and cover to let set. Add a thin sliced shallot and 4 slices of meyer lemon to the pan along with a little butter and cook until slightly soft, 3-4 minutes. Then I add about 1/2 cup white wine and 1/4 cup broth and the juice of one 1/2 lemon. Just let simmer and reduce. At the end I like to add 1 teaspoon butter and some basil. Lemon basil is great, but if you don't have that regular basil is just fine, s/p to taste. Usually not much is needed. I love this over a mix of angel hair pasta and spinach with nothing more than a garlic oil. It is a great simple dish. Add the last 30 seconds in with the pasta all in one pot and drain. Drizzle some garlic olive oil and it is perfect. Very light and easy. Top the spinach with the chicken and then drizzle the sauce over the pasta and spinach. Pretty and simple and top with once of the lemon slices. Very clean simple flavor. I love to serve this with a slice of baguette with a roasted tomato and some herbed cheese as a simple easy side.