My Mighty Meyers…

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Last Fall I decided to purchase a Meyer lemon tree (ok, three) after reading a post on the blog by One Hundred Dollars a Month.  I had purchased smaller lemon trees (if you can even call them that) from nurseries, but they never survived.  They were these little, 18″ at most, little shrub/trees.  Now to be completely honest, I would say that 90% of the time fault was with my lack of care.  When it would get too cold for them I would forget to bring them in, and alas, they died.

So fast forward several years…I’m perusing through blogs and I come across one from a woman that lives in western Washington and was buying Meyer lemon trees to grow.  The difference?  She was purchasing larger trees.  Being the freak that must research everything I looked up several companies, read reviews and studied how to care for one of these things.  Afterall, I wasn’t about to shell out this money only to have the thing die on me after the first cold patch.

Most of the companies that sold them were fairly similar in price, selection and how they were shipped, so I opted for Fast-Growing-Trees.com .   When the boxes came I was a little nervous.  They were packaged in these tall slender boxes that I thought for sure would hold mangled half dead tree.  To my surprise I was wrong, thankfully.  Granted they were a little squished, but the packaging clearly said that they would need to some time to stretch out a bit and return to their normal shape, which they did.

I had then planted within a few days in 20 gallon pots.  I’m sure I’ll eventually have to upgrade to a larger size, but for now we are good.  The information slip also said they could go into shock and drop their leaves, or have some turn yellow and die, but that didn’t happen.  They were happy from day one.  They didn’t grow much at first but when the weather warmed up it was glorious.  The blossoms smelled absolutely heavenly.  On warm sunny days I would open all the doors to the room they were being kept and the hummingbirds would flock to them.  When the doors were closed the hummingbirds would come to the doors hover, almost like they were begging to get in.

The blossoms eventually turned into lemons, and then it happened… one of my poor lemon trees started to drop her leaves and look sick.  It didn’t take long for her to look like a spindly stick.  But I wasn’t going to give up, no way!!!  Did more research and realized I had over watered her.  So I let her dry out and a few months later she started making new leaves and blooms.  Phew!!!

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Even though one of the Meyer trees was now on the DL, the other two were thriving.  They had these gorgeous green lemons that were free of blemishes, absolutely perfect.

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They started turning yellow about two weeks ago so I have my fingers crossed that I will get some Meyer lemons afterall.

My overall thought, unless you live in a citrus growing area you are going to need to baby these things.  Be prepared to bring them in, or have some kind of shelter.  Be prepared, when the lemons are tiny you will have a zillion of them….but most will drop off leaving you with a dozen or so per tree.  I had read about that part and knew it was coming but a part of me was still really bummed every time one would drop off.  Then there’s the blossoms… they smell beyond delicious, it’s absolutely addictive.  In the mornings when the outdoor room would heat up from the sun I would go out there and just inhale as deeply as I could.  Yes, it’s that good.

If I had the room I would purchase more, but at this point I will be keeping it to three.  Would I recommend getting one, or two or me?  Most definitely.

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My Beloved Meyer Lemons…

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32 beautiful Meyer lemons just waiting to be processed…

Several years ago I happened to be talking to a gentleman in the produce department of a grocery store, I can’t remember why I even started talking to him, but somehow we got on the topic of lemons.  To me a lemon was a lemon but I was quickly schooled on that belief.  He told me about Meyer lemons and how they differed from the normal lemons you find everywhere.  Of course this intrigued me and I needed to experience this wondrous lemon for myself.

Unfortunately, where I live you cannot just head to your local store and pick up a bag, no sir… First, they are not sold in every store, and secondly, you need to catch them during their season.  So when Meyer lemon season rolls around (November) I go cray cray and buy tons for zesting and juicing.  Meyer lemons are sweeter than it’s counterpart so it’s great for making all kinds of desserts, which is what I do.  I like to keep lemon zest in my freezer all the time so it’s available to me whenever a recipe calls for it.  In my kitchen, it’s considered a staple.

The past few years Costco has carried my beloved Meyer lemons, so that means I can get 16 of them for about six dollars.  As much as I’d like to purchase a pallet of them I need to take into consideration that I have the twinadoes to contend with while I process lemons, which means I cannot do as many at one time as I’d like.  I end up getting that pallet, just not at one.

When I process my lemons I start by washing them.  Since I will be consuming the skins I want it clean.  Next the zesting.  Be sure to zest before juicing, I know, seems like a no brainer…

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I love how the kitchen smells after zesting lemons, it’s simply glorious.  It’s a tad tedious and after 32 of them my hand did start to hurt a little but I’m ok with that, the results are so worth it.

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The product of my labor….

Next, the juicing.  It’s another tedious job, but again, so worth the effort.  I do not own an electric juicer, which would make this step go a lot quicker, but I survived.  If you have any cuts or scrapes you will definitely want to wear gloves, unless you are in to that kind of thing… I put a strainer over a Pyrex glass measuring cut to strain out the seeds and pulp while juicing.

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Aaaahhhh, the juice of my labor.

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All that remains of the lemons.  Before you toss these into the yard waste bin to be recycled, throw one into your sink disposal to get rid of any icky smells that might be lurking.  You might want to cut it up a bit, just to make sure your disposal can handle it.  The smell of ground up lemon carcass…again, heavenly.

I’m off to buy more Meyer lemons….

Orange Soda, without the extras

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I’m not a big soda drinker, in fact, we buy it only a few times a year.  When we do, I make sure some orange soda is included, something about that stuff is just so darn good!!  What isn’t good?  All the extra crap that goes in it.  I’m not some huge health fanatic (obviously not, look at some of the recipes I post) but I do try to be a little conscientious of ingredients, especially now that I have the twinadoes.

Sitting on the counter were some oranges, limes and lemons that needed to get used up.  I could have made my crispy orange beef or something on those lines, but I wanted to try to make some orange soda since I had been craving that for a few days.  I add flavors to seltzer water all the time, and normally love it, so I thought why not all this citris.  I’m glad I did…and as a side note, the lemon/orange infused simple syrup would be great with mixed drinks (the adult kind).

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For the Recipe: (makes two drinks)

1 c. water

1 c. sugar

zest from one orange

zest from one lemon

1 c. fresh orange juice

4 tbsp. fresh lime juice

In a saucepan heat the water, sugar, orange and lemon zests.  Make sure it gets hot enough to melt the sugar, then remove from the heat and let every thing steep together.  I did this the night before so the flavors would have enough time to really develop.   You will have extra of this simple syrup, but you can keep it in your fridge for up to a month.  In a glass, add 1/2 c. orange juice, 2 tbsp. lime juice, 2 tbsp. of the simple syrup.  Mix together and add ice.

Enjoy!!