I will never
complain that life gives me lemons. (You know what's coming.)
Yes, this is
another lemon post. But that is because life gave me lemons. Lots, and lots of
lemons this year.
Have you ever
had a grocery bag full of lemons appear on your desk at work? (Yes you, Leah!)
Or, ask a friend for a "couple of lemons," only to come home and find 14 of them
arranged beautifully in a circle on your patio table, garnished with sprigs of
lavender? (That's you, Jennifer!)
up in the frigid Northeast, anticipation of a fresh citrus arriving with
friends returning from Florida, California, or Arizona, gave me goosebumps.
That sunny sweetness was the nectar of the gods. I still get that wonderful
feeling when drinking freshly squeezed (squoze?) orange juice.
someone drops off a bag of oranges, lemons, grapefruit, limes, Meyer lemons, or
kumquats, I am delighted. If sometimes overwhelmed.
A bag of
lemons is 50 or more. My first thought is, "What the heck am I going to do
with all these lemons?"
Moroccan preserved lemons. Pasta with shrimp and lemon-tarragon butter.
Avgolemono. Lemon squares.
That list combined
may only use 12-15 lemons. What about the rest? My answer to that reminds me of
Dan Akyroyd portraying Julia Child. "Save the liver!" And, by that, I
mean, save all possible parts for future use!
juice: squeeze it and freeze it. Make sure you freeze it in small containers. I
prefer 1/2-cup jelly jars as they seal well and don't allow your juice to take
on freezer burn. (Ice cubes of lemon juice are common, by they crystallize
easily, and take on other flavors in your freezer, even in zip-lock bags.)
Citrus at the Heirloom Farmers Market
you squeeze and freeze, zest your lemons! I use a microplane and place all the
zest in a thin layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then I freeze it. Once
frozen, I put it into a jar and keep it there frozen for using in stews, soups,
Long ago, I
realized that I needn't be overwhelmed by such abundant gifts. I learned to be grateful. I simply needed to
preserve them so they can be enjoyed year-round. And, now that summer is nearly upon
us (spring in Tucson can be like summer elsewhere), it's time to make
lemonade... because life gave me lemons.
1 cup sugar
tablespoon dried culinary lavender buds
5 cups water,
1 cup freshly
squeezed lemon juice, with or without pulp
sugar and lavender in a small saucepan. Using your fingers, massage the
lavender into the sugar to help release the floral oils. Add 1 cup of water,
and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and place
saucepan aside. Allow the lavender and sugar water to steep for 10 minutes.
place the lemon juice in a large pitcher. When the lavender syrup is ready,
strain it into the lemon juice. Then add the remaining 4 cups water. Stir well
and serve chilled. Makes 7-8