What The Heck Are Meyer Lemons?

Sweeter and Less Acidic Than Your Regular Lemon

What The Heck Are Meyer Lemons?

You see them this month in Bon Appetit magazine, and in food blogs but what the heck are Meyer lemons? Available between November and March, this favorite of chefs is a cross between a lemon and possibly a mandarin orange or tangerine. The tasty citrus fruit came to North America from agriculturer explorer and traveler Frank Nicholas Meyer, who brought a sample home from a trip to China.

Serious Eats describes the fruit as having the “best attributes of lemons and oranges in a tart citrus fruit that doesn't make your face pucker.” With its sweeter flesh and absence of the acidic bite of regular lemons along with thin, edible skin, these fruit are sought after for chefs to include in their kitchens.  Many lucky Californians just grow them in their backyard since they are difficult to transport, but demand is making them increasingly available.  I found some a few weeks ago at my local grocery store away from a major urban center.

What can you make with Meyer lemons? So far, my favorite thing has been to create lemon curd with them. Don't be scared off if you aren't a chef—all you need to do to create wonderful lemon curd is use good ingredients and know how to use a whisk!  Then package up the mixture to fill tart shells, spoon on scones, or as a filling for cake.

Meyer Lemon Tarts

Another wonderful thing about Meyer lemons is that you don't have to waste a thing. While making curd, I also peeled off the skin, sliced it thin, and then candied them.  If you store them in a jar they will last for months, ready to be diced up into treats or just eaten as is.  We had a hard time not picking a few off the tray every time we walked by!

Candied Meyer Lemon Peel

Since Meyer lemons are less acidic, you can’t just go ahead and substitute them in recipes for standard lemons. Whether you choose to zest them into marinades or salad dressings, use in marinades, preserve them for later use in Middle Eastern dishes, candy the peels, you’ll have no trouble finding a way to taste that little bit of sunshine.  I found a recipe this month in Bon Appetit that uses them in a salsa to top chicken skewers.

Chicken Skewers with Meyer Lemon Salsa

Looking for more ideas?  Check out Bon Appetit’s 10 Ways to Cook with Meyer Lemons.

Whether you zest it, squeeze it or slice it, grab a Meyer lemon to try. Once you do, it will be hard to go back to regular supermarket lemons again.

She may go by the name Scatteredmom online, but Karen really is anything but scattered when it comes to the kitchen.  Churning out tasty treats within view of the Georgia Strait on Canada's west coast, Karen will hand you an organized weekly meal plan or teach you how to make meals from scratch.  As Mom to a teenage boy, she knows exactly what it takes to keep kids full and happy-which has really come in handy with her job as the Food Editor at Yummy Mummy Club.

A strong supporter of Food Revolution who has been endorsed by Jamie Oliver himself, by day Karen can be found working as a special education teaching assistant, running a kitchen and showing teenagers how to cook nutritious meals for themselves.  By night, when she's not chatting on Twitter and answering cooking questions,  she writes her popular blog Notes From the Cookie Jar, or posting mouthwatering recipes over at Chasing Tomatoes.  Not afraid to give her opinion and passionate about community, Karen spoke at Blissdom Canada 2010 and her writing has been published in Canadian Living magazine, as well as in various online publications. 

Follow Karen on Twitter @scatteredmom