Meet the Meyer Lemons I was lucky enough to find at our local Costco the other day. These lemons used to be a lot harder to find outside of California, but are making their way to supermarkets all around the globe nowadays.
These lemons are such a treat! They just cannot be compared to your common lemon, which usually are the Eureka variety, that would be like comparing apples with oranges. Everything about the Meyer Lemon is different; its taste, its colour, its smell, its shape and even its skin is thinner.
Meyer Lemons are sweeter than the ordinary lemon, not quite so acidic (although it’s still a mouth clenching experience to eat one), which apparently is due to its mandarin gene somewhere along its family tree. The original Meyer Lemon originated in China and a tree was brought to the US back in 1908. Meyer Lemon trees are grown in almost every Californian garden (so a colleague who lived there for a while tells me) and produce fruits year round, but you find them in shops during the winter months and are therefore highly priced food gems for those in the know. Because of its thin and soft skin, coloured from yellow to orange, these lemons don’t have a great shelf life.
The flavour of these lemons is more subtle than that of the normal lemon, missing the acidic kick we all expect from a good old-fashioned lemon. They are particularly great for use in desserts, baking, lemonade, and cocktails; try squeezing their juice into some sparkling water for a refreshing alternative. There are tons of recipes online for these wonderful lemons, just be aware that their peel is hard to grate and is more of a pulp than a zesty string and seeds are a plenty in this variety.
I bought a large punnet of these lemons the other day, and because I cannot use them all at once before they spoil, I sliced them and placed them on a baking sheet to freeze and have now moved them to a Ziploc bag for future use. You could also squeeze their juice into an ice-cube tray for freezing and pop the cubes into a Ziploc bag. Be aware that although you can freeze lemons whole, once defrosted they are really only good for squeezing their juice and no good if you need slices.
If you see them in your local supermarket, pick some up and give them a try. Someone once told me that you haven’t lived if you have never tried a Meyer Lemon – and I must say I agree with them.