Citrus Squeeze

By / Food / April 24th, 2013 / 1

Great news – there’s a new addition to our family! I wasn’t sure if we really should go for it. But, it was a blustery Saturday morning when I laid eyes on it, and the promise of heat and sunshine took over my thoughts. Our new addition is a dwarf lemon tree loaded with blooms and baby lemons.

The aroma of citrus flowers is sweet perfume. The scent draws us into the living room where it currently stands in front of the big bay window. It’s a compulsion really; but, oh, what a heady addiction! Honestly, it’s as if summer exists in my living room all year long. The tree bears a type of lemon called Meyer, a variety not usually found in your average grocery store. The fruit is thin skinned, and when sliced open, its colour is a deep yellow, almost orange. The flavour, though, is it’s most distinctive feature. Regular lemons are tart and acidic. The Meyer is almost sweet. You can actually eat it by the slice.

My new Meyer lemon shares its space with a dwarf Valencia orange tree. I’ve had it for a year, but I haven’t yet tasted its fruit. I guess this is where I have to admit that I don’t have a true green thumb. Last year, spring was so warm that I began putting it out onto the patio during the day and pulling it into the garage at night in case Mother Nature decided to throw a curve ball in the form of frost. The first few months it was under my care, its branches sprouted blossoms and baby oranges.

And then it happened.

I forgot to shelter it one night, and that, of course, was the night the frost fell. That poor tree lost every one of its blooms and oranges … and it hasn’t bloomed since. Sad, yes, but not the end of the story, at least I hope not. As I write, it’s sitting under a grow light and its roots are sipping up fertilizer. Maybe by this time next year, I’ll be able to describe the flavour of those homegrown oranges to you. I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, I’ll keep a close eye on the lemon tree and share this recipe with you:

Lemonade

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 4 to 6 depending on size)
  • 3-4 cups water

Instructions

  1. A simple syrup is the key to getting the level of sweetness right. Do it by heating sugar and water until the sugar has dissolved completely.
  2. When the syrup has cooled, pour it into a pitcher along with lemon juice and remaining water. Stir and refrigerate.
  3. Pour tall glasses and garnish with sprigs of fresh mint.
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