The Meyer lemon tree is an excellent fruit tree to grow. In fact, it does well in a container and can be moved inside for the winter. Unlike other fruits, all citrus do not ripen until winter. Which means Christmas time is the perfect time to harvest your lemons, use and preserve them. Here are some ways to use the entire lemon.
Lemons are truly a versatile fruit. They are excellent in both savory and sweet dishes. They go perfectly in warm and cool dishes. The tang and tartness of lemons can be subtly added or the main star.
If you are lucky enough to grow lemons you can easily enjoy lemons all year long using many different methods. You can preserve lemons in many ways but you may want to consider how to use the entire lemon.
Many different dishes call for lemon zest. Before you do anything with the flesh or juice, you should zest the lemons. You may want to purchase a zester like this one as grater can often be too harsh and cut into the pith which is bitter. If you don’t have one, you can still use a grater, just be gentle and slow.
If you zest your lemons, you can then dry them in a dehydrator or on a very low oven. This will make a lemon powder which you can add to salt, sugar or leave as is for use in recipes. It will not have quite as strong a flavor anymore as fresh zest but you can just use a little more than called for in the recipe.
Next, you will want to juice the lemons. I simply slice them in half and use a squeeze juicer like this one. However, I would prefer a hand juicer like this one for juicing the lemons because you can get more.
Pure lemon juice is in many different recipes. Including lemon custard and lemon meringue pie. You can also use it in savory recipes such as hollandaise sauce and mayonnaise. Of course, you can also make delicious and healthy lemonade!
The lemon leftovers
Now that you have zested and juiced your lemons, you’ll have what’s left of the rinds and maybe some flesh. But the lemons do not stop there. You can continue to use them.
However, since they’ve been process so much, they are best in other ways as well. My favorite uses are to flavor kombucha or water to drink and enjoy. You can also soak them in vinegar for a wonderful homemade cleaner.
Once you’ve soaked them for the last bit of lemony goodness, don’t forget to compost them. They should at this point be easier to break down in the compost pile. However, if you want them to live a little longer, putting them around the garden bed can also deter cats from your raised beds.
Lemons are truly wonderful fruits that can be used in so many ways. Even though you may not eat them fresh, they add a little extra to almost anything. You may live too far north to grow them outside, but they are an easy container plant. Definitely consider getting a few for yourself. From my just 3 year old sapling that is only 3 feet high, I was able to harvest 9 lemons.
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