If you’ve been visiting my blog, you know I love to cook with produce from my garden. There is something so satisfying about cooking with fruits and vegetables that you’ve had a hand in growing. This year, we were thrilled to harvest our first true crop of Meyer lemons. And what a crop it was! With each lemon weighing in at close to a half pound, we harvested hundreds of pounds of fruit from one tree. Amazing! Meyer lemons are one of my all-time favorite fruits to grow and to cook with. A cross between a Eureka lemon—the variety commonly sold in grocery stores—and a Mandarin orange, Meyer lemons are less tart, extremely juicy, and have few seeds. Their “calm” acidity makes them a valuable asset to the cook. Try slices of Meyer lemon tucked under the skin of a roast chicken that’s been coated with sea salt and fresh ground pepper…Meyer lemonade, Meyer lemon-infused vodka, Meyer lemon salt, lemon curd, preserved lemons—all simple and wonderful and magical!
Caring for a Meyer lemon tree is pretty simple. When you initially plant them, make sure the trees get plenty of sunshine and rich, organic soil. Fertilize them with a good quality fertilizer a few times a year (February, May and August), and water regularly for the first season or two. You also need to protect them from frost for the first few years. You can wrap the baby trees in a frost-protective blanket (remove it during the day, or they’ll burn) OR you can get a little festive like we do, and adorn your baby citrus trees with the big, old-fashioned Christmas lights. Make sure you’ve wrapped the lights around the trunk and major limbs, and light them up during really cold nights. Works like magic! If you don’t want to bother with all that, you can always pick up some Meyer lemons at better grocery stores–but expect to pay a higher price for them. Meyer lemons are a little more delicate than Eureka lemons, so they require extra care in shipping.
Meyer lemons are just delightful to cook with. I juice them and freeze the juice in ice cube trays, then pop the frozen cubes out and store them in a Ziploc freezer bag to use all winter long. I also dry them in slices, preserve them in salt, make marmalade, make cleaning products and a host of other lemony delights. But I think our favorite use of Meyer lemons is to make light-as-air lemon curd. Much like myself, lemon curd is both sweet and tart. It multitasks as a delightful spread for simple toast with tea for breakfast, or as a really fancy dessert served at high tea at an Irish estate. Personally, I like to serve lemon curd in individual little tarts, topped with fresh whipped cream and a few blueberries or raspberries.
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup white sugar
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 package mini graham cracker tart shells
- Fresh whipped cream
- Fresh blueberries or raspberries
- Whisk eggs, sugar, and lemon juice in a double boiler over simmering water and continue to stir until thick, 7 to 10 minutes. Fold in the butter until well incorporated. If desired, strain through a sieve into a bowl to remove any little bits of egg white. Mix in lemon zest. Spoon the lemon curd into prepackaged mini-tart crusts. Cover tarts with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until the lemon curd has thickened, about 2 hours. Top with fresh whipped cream and berries.
More Meyer Lemon Recipes: