Life in the A-Frame

Life in the A-Frame

Friday, October 10, 2008

My limes are really lemons after all

Back in the Spring, I bought a Meyer lemon tree and it produced fruit. On June 29, I wrote a post about my family's concerns that it was a lime tree, not a lemon. Even I had my doubts when, month after month, the fruit remained bright green. Even when they measured about 3 inches in diameter, they were solid green. After consulting the internet, I was reassured that a Meyer lemon ripens in late October or November. Yes! They are turning yellow and getting ripe. Soon I'll pick them and make something for Christmas (limoncello?)out of them. After all, these are special fruit. It takes a long, long time to grow a Meyer lemon.

Uh Oh-I looked up the following recipe and I'll be cutting it really close if I try to make limoncello for Christmas gifts. It takes 80 days and 15 lemons-I have 11. I'll let you know if this works out.
If you have ever been to Italy, you'll instantly know about Limoncello. It is a lemon liqueur that is served well chilled in the summer months. It is wonderful as a palate cleanser or as an after dinner drink. Keep your bottles of limoncello in the freezer until ready to serve. The ingredients are simple and few, and making a batch doesn't require much work, but you'll need some time. Limoncello must steep for (80) eighty days
Italian Limoncello
15 lemons* 2 bottles (750 ml) 100-proof vodka** 4 cups sugar 5 cups water
* Choose thick-skinned lemons because they are easier to zest.
** Use 100-proof vodka, which has less flavor than a lower proof one. Also the high alcohol level will ensure that the limoncello will not turn to ice in the freezer.
Step One:
Wash the lemons with a vegetable brush and hot water to remove any reside of pesticides or wax; pat the lemons dry.
Carefully zest the lemons with a zester or vegetable peeler so there is no white pith on the peel. NOTE: Use only the outer part of the rind. The pith, the white part underneath the rind, is too bitter and would spoil your limoncello.
Step Two:
In a large glass jar (1-gallon jar), add one bottle of vodka.
Add the lemon zest as it is zested.
Cover the jar and let sit at room temperature for at least (10) ten days and up to (40) days in a cool dark place. The longer it rests, the better the taste will be. (There is no need to stir - all you have to do is wait.) As the limoncello sits, the vodka slowly take on the flavor and rich yellow color of the lemon zest.
Step Three:
In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water; cook until thickened, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
Let the syrup cool before adding it to the Limoncello mixture.
Add to the Limoncello mixture from Step One. Add the additional bottle of vodka. Allow to rest for another 10 to 40 days.
Step Four:
After the rest period, strain and bottle: discarding the lemon zest.
Keep your bottles of Limoncello in the freezer until ready to serve.

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