I know a lot of people around here planted themselves a harmless little Meyer lemon tree, thinking it would be a nice little evergreen shrub to privatize your yard. They probably thought they’d enjoy having “a few lemons” to festoon their beers and dribble over a plate of grilled salmon. Etc.
And then the lemons came, and you find yourselves double-bagging everything at the grocery store so you can strip the dam-ned things before they fall to rot on your lawn and pawn them off on your neighbors, friends, and anybody who drives slow past your house. You find yourselves talking to strangers about the uses of lemons, like a tin man making his way through the neighborhood.
My husband and I also planted a couple of harmless little Meyers. Yes, they have formed an outrageous privacy hedge, green all year. The first bumper crop of lemons caught us by surprise. We used as many as we could, but all I had to juice them was one of those little glass presses. This was good for immediate use, but trying to get enough juice to store was impossible. Most of the fruit went in the garbage those first years. Then my mother in law gave me this incredible citrus press she bought at a yard sale.
Of course this machine is manual and takes a good amount of work. First the lemons need to be washed and cut in half. Then I can go through that bag in less than a half hour. It’s a good upper body workout.
I got five pints out of that one grocery sack full. We got a bumper crop this year, some enormous ones, almost as big as oranges. Some of the branches are straining. We’ll probably give a few bags away, use many of them fresh, juice a good portion, but, in the end, probably half will go in the trash.
My son likes to make lemonade. Boil a cup of water, add a half cup to a cup of sugar and let it simmer for five minutes. Then add a half cup of lemon juice and three more cups of cold water. You can keep simmering that for a very nice hot drink, or add ice and drink it as a Farewell Salute to Summertime.
Here’s a good sore throat remedy – squeeze half a lemon into a cup, add a big spoonful of honey or sugar. If you want to put some real “Oooompffff!” into it, add a crushed clove of garlic. Then fill the rest of the cup with hot water. Drink that as hot as you can.
I love lemon meringue pie, as much as I’m trying to cut back on stuff like that. I’m going to put some extra effort into making a better pie crust this year – the crust is really essential, it’s almost as important as the lemon and the meringue. I’ll keep you posted there.