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Season's Eatings

03/02/2012 07:20AM ● Published by Style

WHAT’S IN SEASON NOW:

Juicy, fragrant Meyer lemons!

These seasonal beauties are believed to be a cross between a true lemon and a Mandarin orange. The result is a delicious, slightly sweeter fruit with an irresistible fragrance.  Rounder and smoother than a true lemon, Meyer lemons have a deep, rich yellow with a tint of orange when fully ripe.  

Because Meyer lemons are sweeter and less acidic than common lemon varieties, they make a great addition to fruit salads and main dishes. Their high volume of juice also makes them the perfect choice for making lemonade or specialty cocktails.

DID YOU KNOW?

Meyer lemons have an avid and growing list of supporters, including Chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, who first popularized the fruit on the West Coast, and more recently, lifestyle-maven Martha Stewart who frequently uses them in her recipes.

SELECTION AND STORAGE:

Meyer lemons are only in season for a limited time: December through April. Their thinner skins make them more difficult to transport and store, and therefore less likely to be found on grocery store shelves. However, a number of local growers raise Meyer lemons and a good supply can always be found in season at farmers’ markets, local produce shops and farm stands.

When selecting Meyer lemons look for 3 to 4 inch fruits with skins free of soft spots and blemishes. The lemons will keep up to a week at room temperature, or two weeks to a month if kept in a cool, dry place or refrigerator.

For more information about PlacerGROWN and the Foothill Farmers’ Market Association, visit placergrown.org and foothillfarmersmarket.com.


MEYER LEMON RECIPES!

Courtesy of PlacerGrown

Roasted Root Vegetables with Meyer Lemons

Adapted from the NPR Kitchens

You can modify this versatile recipe to satisfy your particular tastes in vegetables by using a mix of parsnips, carrots and rutabagas, or simply a full pound of your favorite. Makes 4 servings.

  • 1 lb. small Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2-lb. carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2-lb. parsnips
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Meyer lemons
  • Cooking spray
  • Fresh thyme for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Add potatoes, carrots, garlic cloves, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with oil and toss well. Roast 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim the ends of the lemons so you can see the flesh and no white pith. Cut into thin slices, removing the seeds. Cut slices into half-circles.

After 15 minutes is up, remove baking sheet from the oven and toss the lemons with the vegetable mixture. Return to oven and roast until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes more. Sprinkle with fresh thyme, if using, and serve.

 

Meyer Lemon Bars

Adapted from the NPR Kitchens

For Crust:

  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • Cooking spray

For Filling:

  • 1 whole Meyer lemon
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice (from 3 to 4 lemons)
  • Powdered sugar for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a food processor, pulse flour, powdered sugar, salt and zest until combined. Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles sandy crumbs. Transfer to baking dish and press into an even layer with your fingertips. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges.

Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees.

To make the filling, wipe out food processor bowl. Trim off ends and cut the whole Meyer lemon into small chunks, removing the seeds. Add to processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Set aside.

Whisk together the sugar, flour and salt. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then whisk in the lemon juice.

Whisk the egg mixture into the sugar mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chopped whole lemon. Pour filling over the hot crust and return to oven. Bake 28 to 30 minutes, or until center is set but still gooey when poked with a toothpick. Cool completely.

Sift powdered sugar (if using) over the dish. Cut into 12 or 16 bars and serve.

Best eaten within 24 hours. Cover and store at room temperature.

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