Sunday, January 19, 2014

Lemons and Limes

I was out doing yardwork yesterday and noticed that a couple of my limes looked ripe - and I had a few more that were on the ground, which does them no good.  So I picked half a dozen limes and wondered, "what should I do with these?" and then I saw my lemon tree, and wondered if the lemons thereon were ripe or not and then I picked a few lemons (only a few, they weren't ripe - they're easy to pick when they're ripe), deciding to make a small pitcher of limeonade.

 The variegated lemon that I have in my front yard is bred off the old standard lemon tree, not the Meyer improved that I've lived with all my life, so I don't quite have a visible "ripe" test - just the picking test.  (Citrus fruit will come off fairly easily when ripe, and fight you tooth and nail when not ripe).  FWIW, ripe limes are the color of unripe lemons, NOT green.  Ripe (meyer) lemons are the color of unripe oranges, not bright yellow, and ripe oranges are whatever color they want to be, but they have to drop into your hand.
Anyway.  I knew some of these were unripe, but hey.  I wanted an -ade, and nothing good happens to fruit on the ground.

Here's a picture of the inside of my "Pink Lemonade" lemons.  So pretty!  No, it doesn't make pink lemonade.  But super pretty in glasses.  The pink varies, from distinct pink to hardly any atall.

Between the drought (we've gotten perhaps an inch of rain since our rainy season started, in November.   Probably less than that, and nothing in the past 6 weeks - it's actually hot and dry out, all my plants are parched) and being picked unripe, none of my pretty fruit was juicy.

My lemonade recipe is simple and delicious.  Juice lemons, limes, or whatever (well, not grapefruit) until you have a couple of cups of juice, more is better.  Pour juice into large container.  Add sugar until you're not ready to scream from the acidity.  Add water until diluted to taste.  Add more sugar, because it's still pretty tart.   This OBVIOUSLY depends on having a lemon tree of your very own, and ripe fruit.

As you can see from the inner workings picture above, this fruit wasn't juicy!  So, having once seen a recipe for traditional boiled lemonade, I made some.  I sliced up my fruit, put it in a pot with some water and boiled it a bit.

I strained the fruit out, added sugar (and raw sugar) to the juice, added water and refrigerated.  I threw in some flower syrup I got from Ikea a million years ago for more sweet and some interest.  (I ran out of sugar).   It tastes like the honey lemonade you'd get at the store.  My family hates it!  So - uh, guess I'll be drinking a lot of lemonade for the next few days.  :p

Notes:  Traditionally made lemonade tastes like the "lemon" candy, cough drops, bottled lemonade, powdered lemonade that you get.  This answers the eternal question, "Why do they think that tastes like lemonade?"  It uses quite a LOT less sugar, a lot less fruit, and produces a dark yellow lemonade.  It's not particularly acidic, there's really no bite.  

Pretty pictures, not the best result in the world... and if you think of it, you might pray for rain/snow for California.  The gov just put us on 20% water restriction, the same weekend I realized my normal winter watering hiatus was killing my plants.  :p  If we don't get some serious rain this Winter (hey, getting winter back would also be fun) and Spring, we'll be having fires all summer long.

In the meantime, this is how you make traditional lemonade.  Although I don't recommend it.  ;)

10 comments:

  1. The -ade turned out to taste much better after a night in the fridge. It tastes like lemonade from frozen now, although 9yo informs me that it needs more sugar.

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  2. I know envy is a sin and all...but you have LIME TREES! :-)

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    1. It is very nearly a sin of wastefulness to not have at least one citrus tree here. They produce like mad, need little other than water... I have a lime tree, two lemons, and a baby orange tree. The lime produces, the front lemon seems to have gotten into proper gear, and the back lemon is unkillable. The orange tree is sad right now, but we'll see if it can't be nursed into health. You should see the citrus in my mom's yard... ah, those are healthy trees!

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    2. I know you didn't mention a Meyer Lemon as part of your grove (LOL), but this recent post from the Food Librarian for Meyer Lemon Cookies was too good for me to not share with you. The actual recipe came from Martha Stewart's Every Day Food magazine, which I loved and just wept when it was discontinued. Anyway, the looked so yummy I thought I would share the link with you. http://www.foodlibrarian.com/2014/01/meyer-lemon-glazed-cookies.html (I'm thinking of baking some - I saw Meyer Lemons for an only slightly obscene price at Whole Foods...

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    3. My second lemon tree is a Meyer lemon. They're really good lemons. Very sweet, very juicy. They are sweeter/milder than the "traditional" lemon. Pretty much everyone here I know who grows lemons grows Meyer lemons. It would probably produce more lemons if a) my husband hadn't whacked it with a machete 10 years ago b) we watered it c) it wasn't buried in Brazilian pepper trees. It *still* bears fruit, even with all of that.... just not very much. For a lemon tree.

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  3. The USDA routinely tramps through yards around here tagging trees at risk for citrus canker. People have come home to find their trees cut down!

    The idea of them coming in our yard bugs my husband so much that he ruled out my idea of planting an orange tree.

    We are considering a peach tree though.

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    1. Peaches are nom. :) Does your neighborhood grow peaches? Stone fruit seems happier when there's more than one tree in the area.

      They tell us not to transport backyard fruit all the time, esp close to the border, but the USDA doesn't tromp through lawns here.

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  4. The guy in the house directly behind us has a peach tree that does pretty well. That's where I got the idea, but most of the people around here have citrus trees.

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    1. Quite a few people had stone fruit trees when I was a kid, but they've tapered off. I'm not sure why. Maybe they need more water than established citrus? Maybe you get spoiled by citrus' long harvest cycle and the all the fruit at once thing freaks people out? I miss them. When I was super little, my grandpa had an apricot tree and a plum tree. Very briefly, my folks had a peach tree - and they had a plum tree forever that used to give so many plums it was like zucchini, lol. Backyard fruit trees = the reason to have a backyard.

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