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Mother Nature never ceases to amaze. Lemons are at the height of ripeness during the darkness of mid-winter — how wonderful is that? Just when we are most in need of a revitalizing blast of summery color and flavor, the earth provides it, and even throws in a vitamin C boost to help clear out the cold-and-flu cobwebs.
Of all the lemon varieties out there, my favorite is the Meyer lemon. The plump, shiny, deep-yellow fruit was named after early 20th-century horticulturist Frank N. Meyer, who “discovered” the lemons while on assignment in Asia and ferried a few home to the United States, where they are now grown as a seasonal specialty crop, usually from winter until mid-spring.
Meyer lemons have a thin peel and a deliciously floral scent and taste, and they’re thought to be a hybrid of an orange and a lemon. They are less sour and a little juicier than your run-of-the-mill lemon (which are usually actually Lisbon or Eureka lemons), and their special flavor is particularly suited to sweet preparations. A beloved wintertime elixir is Meyer lemonade sweetened with just a bit of agave nectar or sugar. A tall glassful is fresh and revitalizing, but it can also be simmered over low heat and served in a mug to offer warming comfort and soothe a sore throat.
I try to buy organic whenever possible so I can also use the skin, which I zest and add to a variety of dishes. The aromatic quality of the Meyer lemon peel marries well with baked goods, adding extra depth of flavor to muffins, cakes, and breads. Try adding a teaspoon of fresh or dried zest to your next batch of batter for a fragrant, citrusy boost.
Aurelia d’Andrea’s passion for travel is deeply intertwined with her love of food. Whether in Perth, Prague, or Phnom Penh, she always gravitates toward local markets in search of edible treasures, and takes pleasure in recreating tasty travel memories at home in her tiny Parisian kitchen.