Meyer Lemons: The Food Snob’s Favored Fruit

If you, like me, are only a very casual food snob, you’ve probably scoffed at people going on about Meyer lemons. Martha Stewart has been on the Meyer lemon train for years, and every time I’ve tuned into her show and heard her go on about how you need Meyer lemons for a particular recipe and no other lemon would possibly do, I’ve rolled my eyes. But much like the fleur de sel that I once mocked, once I actually came across a real life Meyer lemon I realized that per usual, Martha was right.

Meyer lemons originally hail from China and according to some, there’s a little bit of mandarin orange bred into the lemons, giving them a sweeter and juicier flavor. Meyer lemons look different from your standard lemons too – they’re rounder and their skin is slightly more orange and smoother than a regular lemon (which, incidentally, makes them a pain in the ass to zest). And they are indeed tastier, less acidic, and more fragrant than your regular boring old lemons.

My love affair with Meyers started just this past December when a small mound of Meyer lemons appeared in my weekly organic food delivery. “Oh good lord,” thought I, “I’m going to have to do something with these stupid overpriced Martha Stewart-endorsed lemons.” With my family’s annual holiday party coming up I did what any clear-thinking person would do at Christmastime: I made lemon curd. Meyer lemon curd. And that curd quickly converted me into a full-fledged worshipper of the Meyer lemon.

Meyer lemon curd on shortbread
Some of my homemade Meyer lemon curd with shortbread.

The curd offered a perfect balance of sweet and sour. It was smooth and creamy and delicious, blissful either spread on a piece of shortbread or spooned directly out of the jar. I whipped up my lemon curd a week before my party and I “¦ well, let’s just say there wasn’t any left by the time my guests arrived. When it comes to Meyer lemon curd, I apparently have no self-control. I promised myself that I wouldn’t fall into that trap again, but for the purposes of this post I gave it another go and I assure you, the curd was just as heavenly as the first time around.

Meyer lemons are in season right now and there’s a lot you can do with them, as they’re perfect for just about any lemony dessert you can concoct. But if you’re new to the world of Meyers or are avoiding them because of their foodie connotations, I suggest that you start with a simple lemon curd. There are a bunch of recipes available online. If you like your curd nice and eggy, consult the oracle that is Martha Stewart, but I personally like to take a simpler route taken by this recipe. Put it in a cute little jar and everyone you know will think that you’re a genius.

(featured photo of Ripe Meyer Lemon image by ChaosNil from Wikimedia.

By Sissy Larue

30-something, mother-of-two, former rock 'n' roll reporter, currently into retro house-wifey things, bad TV and any movie that I can sneak out of the house to watch.

10 replies on “Meyer Lemons: The Food Snob’s Favored Fruit”

I know the produce box sounds kind of fancy-pants, but at least where I live it actually works out cheaper than going to the grocery store. Depends on your situation though — you have to be the kind of person who uses a lot of fresh produce anyway and if you live with a few other people it’s good, but I think it would be hard to make it work for a person living alone or even a couple.

When I visited India many times a child, there was fruit that we called Mosambi (phonetically spelled). It looked and smelled like a lemon, but it tasted like a sweet mild orange. It was also INCREDIBLY fragrant. I’ve never seen it in North America, and I gorge on it whenever I’m back in India. It’s like my own personal catnip.

Sometimes I fantasize about getting my hands on some and trying out all these baking recipes that I have that use lemon and orange with it.

Alas, I don’t think it can be found in North America. And believe me, I’ve looked.

It could possibly be grown in Florida (high humidity). I know that it has been successfully cultivated in the Mediterranean. I do hope that it does become available here one day.

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