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Preserved Meyer Lemons (Thank You Maggie Brown)

Heather Ross4 Comments


Consider this your official PSA: Meyer Lemon season is nearly past. You can still find them in better grocery stores and online, though, which means that you should be stocking up for the lonely, meyer lemon-less months to come.

If you don't know this about me already (and you probably do, because Meyer Lemons are on my list of Things I Never Shut up About, right between Full Moons and Nani Iro), I am crazy over this pretty little citrus. There was a tree in the backyard of a house that my father and my sister and my brother lived in in Santa Cruz, California, when I was about fifteen, and on one visit from Freezing, Vermont, I woke up there to find that everyone had gone to school or work. I stepped out into the small backyard in my bare feet to find a pretty lemon tree sitting in bright morning light, with ripe fruit just falling off it's branches. The color of these lemons was more like a dandelion than a lemon, that pretty warm yellow that I still can't get to appear on my computer screen, and when I cut one open I found it to be completely edible, peel and all, and more sweet than tart but also very tart. It all seemed too good to be possible, and from then on, in my mind, California smells and tastes like a Meyer Lemon. It just does.

I stock up when I can, I make Vince and Sophie send them to me from Santa Rosa, but they don't last sitting in a wooden bowl as long as I'd like, so I asked my friend Maggie Brown, who is my summer partner in berry picking, swimming, jam-making, and all other things seasonal, to preserve some for me. Since then I've been whittling away at the row of pretty little yellow jars (nothing sparkles like glass that has been boiled, filled with bright colors) on a high kitchen shelf. I use them to make dressings and chopped up over roast chicken, and I use them for cocktails, throwing a sinlge preserved lemon and some crushed mint and thyme, and some vodka, into a big ball jar with some ice and shaking and straining the whole thing into martini glasses. I even gave a few away for Christmas this year, and then asked her for more. She finally took pity on me and came to my kitchen this last weekend with her big copper pot and showed me how, step by step, to make them.

I'm trying to get the written recipe out of her, along with some step by step's for first time makers. I'm making progress. Her's is a well kept and much tested bit of kitchen perfection. I'll keep you posted. There are a few other recipes out there. Don't wait, the Meyer Lemons will be gone very soon. you can see the rest of the images over here, on my Instagram.

Copper pot is available here, fabric print file and sewing pattern for apron is in this book, orange pot is from Le Crueset....