Meyer Lemons: Mass-Market but Mind-Blowing



To try Sally's recipe for lemon curd, click here.

The produce section of my local supermarket is so lackluster that it generally discourages me from buying of any fresh vegetable except onions or bananas. Wandering through on my way to buy ice cream this Monday, I spotted a trove of Meyer lemons—six for two dollars—and knew that these fabulous citrus had finally made their way from "gourmet" to mass-market. Although Meyer lemon season usually starts winding down in March, the lemons were in good shape. When I scratched the skin of one, its unique perfume was released: like lemon and tangerine with floral undertones.

I squeezed two of the lemons right off the bat, making what is akin to a sour, aromatic orange juice. Diluted with a little water, and sweetened with sugar, it is an amazing drink—not my idea but one I learned on a visit to Martha Stewart's compound in Connecticut years ago. (THAT is another story.) Martha had her housekeeper squeeze tons of Meyer lemons when they were in season and kept the juice frozen—one of her many good ideas, if you happen to have freezer space. Lack of it, however, encourages you to enjoy Meyer Lemons in their season, in the moment. Now!

Meyer lemons will actually last several weeks in the fridge. I use the zest, removed with a vegetable peeler and cut into fine slivers, in everything, to brighten up chicken salad or slaws or stews. The juice and grated zest add an incredible perfume to plain cakes and butter cookies and makes a spectacular lemon curd to fill a baked tart shell or to sandwich between cake layers with some crème fraiche.

Layered into a tall glass with vanilla ice cream, the curd becomes a mind-blowing adult Creamsicle ...

Recipe: Tart, Ethereal Meyer Lemon Curd

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Sally Schneider writes The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog about improvising as a daily practice. Her cookbook The Improvisational Cook is now out in paperback. More

Sally Schneider is the founder of The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog that inspires you to devise, invent, create, make it up as you go along, from design and cooking to cultivating the creative spirit. It's been called a "zeitgeist-perfect website." She is a regular contributor to public radio's The Splendid Table and the author of the best-selling cookbooks The Improvisational Cook and A New Way to Cook, which was recently named one of the best books of the decade by The Guardian. She has won numerous awards, including four James Beard awards, for her books and magazine writing.

Sally has worked as a journalist, editor, stylist, lecturer, restaurant chef, teacher, and small-space consultant, and once wrangled 600 live snails for the photographer Irving Penn. Her varied work has been the laboratory for the themes she writes and lectures about: improvising as an essential operating principle; cultivating resourcefulness and your inner artist; design, style, and food; and anything that is cost-effective, resourceful, and outside the box.

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