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Meyer Lemons

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What is it?

Meyer lemons are not true lemons, but believed to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarin or orange. Compared to regular lemons, Meyer lemons are thinner- and smoother-skinned, rounder in shape, and have a deeper yellow-orange hue. Less acidic than regular lemons their zest and juice has herbal, even floral undertones that can add a wonderful nuance to any recipe calling for lemons.

Kitchen math:

1 medium lemon = about 3 Tbs. juice

Don’t have it?

Regular lemons; but you may want to add sugar to balance the sharper flavor.

How to choose:

Ripe Meyer lemons have taut, thin skins with an orangy hue. Their thin skins make it difficult to transport them long distances, so they’re a specialty product outside of California, where most of the U.S. crop is grown. Choose lemons that are unblemished, shiny, and heavy for their size. A pale yellow color means that they won’t be quite as sweet. The lemons should be firm but give under slight pressure and should feel a little bit heavy for their size. They will smell sweet and floral, like orange blossoms.

How to prep:

You can substitute Meyer lemons for standard lemons in any recipe; just expect a sweeter flavor with slightly floral undertones. Cut into wedges or sliced, they’re great for tossing into stews and tagines, or roasting along with chicken or vegetables; their thin rind softens enough that you can eat pieces whole. Their zest makes a great addition to pasta or risotto, and their juice can be used in recipes for lemonade, sorbets or granitas, vinaigrettes, cocktails, and lemon cakes, bars, or pies. Fresh and bright, Meyer lemons pair well with berries of any sort; root vegetables like carrots and parsnips; herbs such as lavender, thyme, and rosemary; nuts, including hazelnuts, almonds, and walnuts; and rich dairy like butter, cream, ricotta, and mascarpone.

How to store:

Meyer lemons will keep for a few days at room temperature and up to a month in the refrigerator. Their juice can be frozen for up to six months.


Leave a Comment


  • Magnolia_Sweets | 12/16/2009

    We, too, have a Meyer lemon tree and have had great success making Meyer lemon sorbet and Meyer lemon pie. Also, the recipe for Key lime pie works great for the Meyer lemon pie. The Internet has many, many successful listing for both recipes but am happy to share mine if requested.

    Deli containers work well for freezing both the Meyer lemon juice and (separately) the Meyer lemon zest. I add 1 to 2 heaping teaspoons to each recipe.

  • jvincell | 08/30/2009

    I see these growing in back yards all over the Melbourne area. The season is Nov and Dec...after a cool snap, just like oranges. I have never seen them in stores or produce stands

  • legalbeagle | 06/20/2009

    I am interested in knowing where I can find Meyer lemons. I live in Boca Raton and have inquired at Whole Foods, Publix, etc. Perhaps, Fl.Cook can help. Thanks in advance!

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