Good Question: What To Do With This Bag of Lemons?
This photo and question come from Courtnay, who was recently on the receiving end of big, beautiful bushel of lemons:
Yesterday my patient brought me a giant bag of something. He said they are lemons (possible Meyer) but they look like tangerines. They are sour. What can I do with them?? I would like to preserve at least some of them. Is there any way to freeze them or make something out of them that could be frozen? What about jam/ curd? I am limited in my experience having only made freezer jam but am willing to try. Also, how long will these lemons last before I have to use them? They came off the tree yesterday. So really I am looking for any recipes/ tips ranging from deserts to cleaning products.
Courtnay, we wish we could take some off of your hands. Those do indeed look like Meyer lemons, although the bumpy skin looks a lot like that of a yuzu, a Japanese citrus that’s a relative of the mandarin orange. (Most Meyer lemons have a smoother skin.) But yuzu isn’t as common in the U.S., and that deep, orange-yellow color is more typical of Meyer lemons, so we’re guessing that’s what you’ve got.
Meyer lemons are milder and sweeter than regular lemons but still quite tart. We love them around here, and we’ve got recipes that use a few and recipes that use a lot. Here are our suggestions:
• Lemon Curd (above, left). Here’s our review of a Martha Stewart recipe, which has become our template for making curd. It’s easy, you can certainly double (or triple) the recipe, and it can be frozen. We might lower the sugar just a bit, since you are using sweeter Meyer lemons.
• Meyer Lemon Shaker Pie (above, right). This is a beautiful pie from Faith that really highlights the lemons, peel and all.
• Preserved Lemons with Cardamom. These are common in Middle Eastern and Moroccan cooking, and they can be expensive if you buy them in the store. Here’s a recipe for making your own that will keep for months in the refrigerator.
• Meyer Lemon and Walnut Cake. Another good dessert that lets the lemons take center stage.
• Meyer Lemon Grain Salad with Asparagus, Almonds, and Goat Cheese. If you’re trying to use up the last few… This is a great salad for early spring, as asparagus start making their appearance.
• Spaghetti with Mascarpone, Meyer Lemon, Spinach, and Hazelnuts. Another quick meal that calls for a couple of Meyer lemons.
We also bookmarked this recipe from Fine Cooking:
• Lemon Ginger Marmalade. It’s a very straightforward jam that uses pectin, which eliminates some of the guesswork. It will keep for a while in the refrigerator and could easily work with Meyer lemons.
You should also take a look at this post:
• Reader Feedback: What Should We Do with These Lemons? There are a lot of good ideas in the comments.
Those are our thoughts. Any other ideas for Courtnay?
Related: Seasonal Spotlight: Meyer Lemons
(Top image: Courtnay Gross)