Friday, January 30, 2015


The Citrusy smell of Meyer lemons fills the kitchen as I slice one after another of our crop of lemons. As with any fruit or citrus-bearing tree, our Meyer lemon trees ripen all at once. How do I use such abundance?

I think once again about having a little of something and too much of something, and how quickly I stop prizing abundance. I husband and savor a small quantity of something to make it last. Once I have a lot of something, it no longer seems precious enough to glean the last drop.

This is the week to do something with the lemons before their skins start to soften. I've already given two bags to our house cleaners. I've taken a couple of bags to the Urban Farmers, ( a local organization who will take excess produce, I've sliced them for water at Craft Day, squeezed them for a morning drink of water and lemon juice, and stuffed them in whole chickens. I used to make limoncello with the remainder each year.

We first tasted limoncello, a lemon-infused liqueur, while we were living in Tokyo and frequented an Italian restaurant around the corner from our apartment. As a parting gift at the end of our dinner, the staff would present us with a shot glass of this mellow liqueur.

Limoncello is easy to make, uses lots of lemons, and  is good as a gift. I stopped making it a couple of years ago when I turned out a batch with not much flavor and a lot of vodka. I waited too long after I picked the lemons and they had grown soft and dried out while sitting on the counter. I knew it was time to let go of making limoncello because what had once been fun was now a chore.

Here, though, is my recipe for limoncello, just be sure to use fresh lemons!

Peel 20 fresh, juicy lemons with a vegetable peeler. Use the peeler or a sharp knife to remove the white pith on the inside. Soak peels in 100-proof vodka for a week at room temperature. Test the peels. If they crack apart, they are ready. If they bend, let them marinate some more. When they are ready, add three cups of sugar and three cups of water to the mix. Heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Let cool. Have ready coffee filters and clean glass jars. I used bottles with those wired stoppers. Strain the mixture through the filters into the bottles. Seal and chill for a month. Then sample!

This recipe is a great way to use a lot of lemons. After you peel them, the lemons can be squeezed and frozen for ice cubes. 

I've looked for other lemon recipes, but most of them use just a little juice or a little zest or they are desserts -- not enough to support the bags of lemons I have left. Maybe this year I will try limoncello one more time.

Do you have any lemon-based recipes that you can share?  Send them to me!


  1. This week a co-worker made meyer lemon squares, and brought them in to share. They were heavenly! Thanks for this post, Martha.

  2. Hi, Elizabeth. The sweet pungency of Meyer lemons makes desserts like lemon squares one of my most favorite treats. Thanks for your comments, Elizabeth.

  3. I love lemons. I wish I were there to help you with that limoncello project!

  4. Oh, Sara, you need to move closer! What fun that would be to make a lemon project!


Thank you for commenting! I love hearing from readers. I answer each one.

I do not post Anonymous comments because of problems with spammers.