Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Meyer Lemon Limoncello Or Lemon Extract

Meyer lemons make a delicious liquor and extract.

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Meyer Lemons - Delicious and Prolific

If you live in California, chances are you have a lemon tree, or a neighbor that has one. And if it’s a prolific Meyer Lemon, right now you are probably wondering what to do with all that beautiful fruit. Especially if you have just picked the entire tree before the freezing weather we've been having in Sonoma county. One easy way to use the lemons is to make this delicious Meyer lemon liqueur, popular in Southern Italy where my family is from. You can also use this recipe, before you add the simple syrup, as a lemon extract. A little extract and liquor goes a long way, so here’s a recipe for a small batch. Feel free to double it and bottle the extra for gifts. 

When I make this recipe, I use a combination of 89% biodynamic grape alcohol, that I normally use to make my medicinal tinctures, together with Kettle One vodka. But in the recipe below, I just list Everclear and Vodka. If you don't have access to a high percentage alcohol like Everclear or tincture alcohol, you can just use all vodka. 

Beautiful Meyer lemons from our tree in Sebastopol

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Meyer Lemon Limoncello
[makes six cups]

Potato peeler
2 1-quart jars with lids
Nylon nut bag or fine sieve
Coffee filter and funnel (optional)

10 organic Meyer lemons
1½ cups Everclear
1½ cups Vodka
2 cups white sugar
2 cups filtered or distilled water

Wash the lemons thoroughly and dry completely. Remove the lemon rinds with a potato peeler, avoiding the white pith. Place the peelings into a 1-quart jar and cover with Everclear and vodka. Cover tightly with a lid, place in a cool and dark cabinet, and let sit for a month. Stir the mixture once a week. 

After a month, strain the mixture through a nylon nut bag or fine sieve, into a large pitcher. Divide the strained alcohol evenly into two, 1-quart jars. (If you want to use some of it for lemon extract, pour a small amount of it in a jar and save.)

Make simple syrup. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool completely, to room temperature, before proceeding with the recipe.

Divide the syrup evenly between the two jars filled with alcohol. Cover the jars tightly and place in a cool and dark cabinet for two to four weeks to allow the ingredients to marry.

After the month, strain the liquor one more time. For a really pure solution, use a coffee filter instead of the nylon nut bag. It's a more tedious process but if you want a cleaner product, you can do it.

Using a coffee filter for the final straining produces a cleaner product but it's optional.

Pour into pretty bottles, seal tightly, and enjoy. Store in the freezer as it’s best when served cold.

Serve frozen limoncello in small shot glasses or use to make Limoncello Cocktails

In case you are wondering what to do with 10 peeled lemons, you can juice them, pour the juice into an ice cube tray, and freeze. Once frozen, remove the lemon cubes, place them in a freezer bag, and freeze. Use a cube whenever you need fresh lemon juice. 

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