In my father in-law’s garden, right now, is a Meyer lemon tree dripping with lovely fruit ripe for the picking. Whenever I pass it, it calls my name and whispers to me all the lovely things I could be baking or cooking with its sweet juice or the zest of its golden rind.
I had never heard of Meyer Lemons before my father in-law, Dave, sent me home with a big bag full after one of my first late winter visits to his home in Northern California. Now, I am afraid I am addicted. I LOVE Meyer lemons. Their flavor is sweeter and less tart than the standard lemon varieties I usually find at the store. Their rind is a deeper, darker yellow with a floral, somewhat herbal smell that complements everything from white fish to your favorite baked goodies. Whenever Dave’s tree explodes with hundreds of these juicy treasures I come to his door step begging to stock my pantry.
Lemons are high in Vitamin C, a water soluble vitamin that works as an antioxidant and is needed by your body to make collagen (an important protein building block of skin, muscles, tendons, and bones.) Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron, which means pairing lemon with your favorite green leafy vegetables doesn’t just taste great, it helps you get the most nutritional bang for your buck! How cool is that?!
Kitchen tips and tricks:
The natural occurring acid in citrus fruits, like lemons, limes and oranges, can be used to stop the natural browning of some of your other favorite freshly cut fruits and vegetables. For example, tossing your fruit salad with a little lemon juice will keep your apples and bananas from turning that unappetizing brownish hue or squeezing a little lime juice into your favorite guacamole recipe will keep it looking green and tasty.
Whenever I get access to Meyer lemons, I have a habit of hoarding way more of them than I could possible use while they are still fresh. I find that while ripe lemons may keep close to a month in the produce drawer in my fridge, they will keep for about a week, sometimes two, in a bowl on my kitchen counter. This is, of course my favorite way to store them as it allows me to ogle at their loveliness every time I pass. After tearfully tossing several moldy lemons and wishing I could keep them in supply, I got smart and started freezing my leftover stash so we could enjoy them in recipes all year long!
How to freeze lemon juice and zest:
What you will need:
- cutting board
- zester/grater/microplane tool
- juicing tool
- two freezer safe storage containers (mason jars are my favorite!)
- Wash and dry your lovely lemons.
- Grab your zesting tool of choice and grate the rind of whole lemons into a freezer safe container.
- Slice the zested lemon in half and juice it into a separate freezer safe container. OPTIONAL: You can also freeze lemon juice in ice cube trays and then save the frozen lemon cubes in a freezer safe bag or container, making it quick and easy to use small amounts of juice.
- ENJOY! I find that I can easily scrape my desired amount of frozen lemon zest right out of the jar with a spoon when I am ready to use it. If you saved your lemon juice in one container it may need a little defrosting before use.
Meyer lemon zest makes an excellent pairing to any blueberry containing baked goody (muffins, scones, waffles..) As I add more recipes, I will link to them here
What are your favorite ways to use Meyer lemon? Please share bellow!