Tuesday, February 3, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Photo by Lisa

Before I knew anything about blogs, I spent a lot of time reading TableTalk at Salon. My favorite forums were the cooking discussions. That's where I first learned about Meyer lemons. People talked about them as if they were so far above and beyond a normal lemon as to be unbearable. I ran across a few items that claimed to be flavored with Meyer lemons, but the lemons proper never appear in my New England grocery stores.

So, when Jed said, quite casually, that his tree was a Meyer lemon tree, I pounced. And Meyer lemons are very nice indeed, with a headier scent than a grocery store lemon, a thinner skin, and juicier too.

The first thing I did was make lemonade. And lemonade is the the easiest and the hardest lemon recipe to write. Lemon juice, sugar or honey, water, ice: what could be simpler? But it's all about balancing the tartness of *this* lemon with just the amount of sweet your mouth is currently craving, so the "correct" proportions are fleeting.

Meyer Lemonade

1) Steal a lemon or two from Jed's tree.
2) Squeeze the juice into a tall glass.
3) Add A LOT of sugar or honey. Mix until dissolved.
4) Add cold water and ice to fill the glass.
5) Enjoy!


1) Steal a lemon from Jed's tree. Maybe two if they are small. The big huge ones are extra juicy, but they might have soft spots, which maybe won't taste as good.
2) Slice the lemon(s) in half and squeeze the juice into a tall glass. If you hold the sliced side up when you squeeze, you can avoid getting seeds in your glass without using a strainer. Or use a strainer. Or plan to drink around the seeds.
3) Add about twice as much sugar or honey as you think you should. Stir the juice and sugar until the sugar dissolves. You can add a bit of hot water to help with this, but I find the acid in the lemon juice works pretty well on its own.
4) Add cold water to nearly fill the glass. Stir some more. Taste. Adjust the sweetness if necessary by adding more sugar or lemon. Once you've got a nice strong flavor, add ice or more water as desired.
5) Find a sunny spot to sit and sip. Maybe in Jed's back yard. Maybe on a deck in Cambria. Maybe staring out into your snowbound back yard. Enjoy.


irilyth said...

Huh: Is it important to add the sugar to the lemon juice before you add the water? I had no idea.

Lisa said...

I think so. I think it's harder to dissolve the sugar when there's more liquid. Sounds backwards, but there it is.

Lisa said...

Of course, I usually make lemonade one (or two) glasses at a time rather than making a pitcher to have ready in the fridge.

So, I want the sugar to dissolve right away. Although I understand the desire to have your beverage get sweeter as you go along; I like my tea that way.

If I fill the glass with water before stirring vigorously to dissolve the sugar, I end up with a sticky mess all over the counter (the floor, the table, me).

fran said...

Why haven't you made a simple syrup for your lemonade...;) Going to AZ this weekend; gonna get me some fresh lemons...

Lisa said...

I tried having simple syrup in the fridge, but somehow it didn't inspire me. If I sweetened with sugar rather than honey, I might well just keep a jar of sugar water ready to go.