My love for Meyer lemons was not instantaneous. In fact, other than seeing them in Hammock yards, I wasn’t impressed. As they were so abundant, my only thought was that they must be like a weed tree since no one seemed to be picking them.
Each year I would receive a small bag from a friend of a neighbor and gradually use them up in the way of regular lemons: salad dressing and chicken marinades. This year was different. My own grown from seed Ponderosa lemon tree had its best year ever with 32 lemons! Unfortunately, as it is on the edge of the road, passers-by took off with half of them. I complained to a colleague about this taking-without-asking and was rewarded with a bag of his Meyer lemons. I mixed them with a couple of my Ponderosas and made up a batch of Limoncello and some preserved lemons for my Moroccan recipes and salads. Hmm, pretty good.
A couple of days later, my husband and I took a walk in the Hammock and came upon a freshly cleared lot. At the back were a couple of fruit trees with fruit half on the ground. Lo and behold it was a Meyer Lemon tree and a Persian Lime tree. We waited a day or two then went back to see if the owners had claimed their bounty. More lemons had found their way to the ground. Joy! We picked two grocery bags full.
I made up a batch of My Mom’s Lemon Bars. Most of you probably have your own recipe so I won’t include it here, even though these are the best I have tasted. If you need the recipe just let me know.
When I got up yesterday I realized that I had a refrigerator full of those yellow orbs that weren’t getting any fresher. I also had a half cup of yogurt that needed to be used up or tossed. To my memory came a lemon yogurt cake recipe of an English friend. When our boys were little I used to bake this cake every week, or a version of it with chocolate or vanilla. When you see how easy it is you will be baking it yourself.
Meyer Lemon Yogurt Cake
This recipe was originally made using a small yogurt cup as the measure, thus the 5/8 Cup amount. You can use a half cup and just round it up a bit. I’m also going to admit that I was short on the yogurt and used some low-fat sour cream to make up the 5/8 Cup yogurt measure.
5/8 Cup low-fat yogurt
5/8 Cup canola or other vegetable oil
2 Cups self-raising flour
1 1/4 Cup sugar
grated rind of 1 or 2 Meyer or other lemons
Just throw all of the ingredients into a bowl and stir them up with a wooden spoon. Pour them into a really well-greased bundt pan and bake it at 375 degrees F. for about 35 minutes. Remove and poke it through with a long skewer. Pour over a glaze made of 1/4 Cup of the Meyer lemon juice and 1/2 Cup of sugar that were warmed to dissolve the sugar. Cool and then turn it out. Yum!
The refrigerator, in addition to the remaining lemons, now contained several lemons with their zest removed. I squeezed up a nice batch of lemonade. Perfect with a slice of lemon cake.
My mother-in-law would often say of me that I never wasted anything. That comment reminded me of one of her tricks. She had a large collection of decorative English brass ornaments that she only ever used lemon juice and salt to clean. Aha! Zested and squeezed lemons with a further purpose. It also gave me a rewarding if a longer-than-expected activity of cleaning our heavy gauge copper wine cooler.
Truthfully, you can use Meyer lemons just about anywhere that you would use regular lemons. However, because Meyers have such a small amount of white pith, you can make use of the whole lemon minus the seeds in my most recent hankering.
Meyer Lemon Gremolata Sauce
This is super tasty on cheese, steak, sandwiches, chicken, stirred into warm pasta or on the side of just about anything else you can think of. Caution, it is moreish (British term for wanting more). Let me know how you like it best.
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (may substitute a small shallot)
1 1/2 Tablespoons good vinegar: champagne, infused garlic, basil, etc.
1 bunch fresh basil or parsley, finely chopped (may use a food processor)
11/2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons small capers rinsed well and chopped finely
1 Meyer lemon, sliced thinly then cut into small triangles, discard seeds
1/2 Cup good olive oil
Stir all ingredients together. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to one week. It never lasts that long at our house.