Amaya loves her lemons. The first time we watched her grab one and sink her teeth into it we were slightly horrified. "This can't be be good" was the immediate thought that flashed through my brain. Amaya wrinkled her nose and shivered as she chewed on her piece of skin, then she gave us a big smile, spit out her bite, and promptly sank her teeth back into the fruit for more. Such is the power of a Meyer lemon.
When we were living in New York we had a Meyer lemon tree. It flourished for my aunt and sat in the a sunny corner of the dining room. It was much more than lemons, as the glossy green leaves and white flowers were cheerful and fragrant for much of the year. The Meyer lemon tree was originally imported from China and believed to be a cross between a lemon and a Mandarin orange. It is relatively easy to purchase dwarf trees for your home and theoretically they are quite easy to care for. Alex and I have managed to kill both a lemon and a lime tree so we can't honestly speak from experience on that. They are primarily grown in California here in the states and just happen to be in season and available in our neck of the woods right now.
When buying Meyer lemons we look for brightly colored thin skins and fruit that feel heavy in the hand. That's true for almost all produce as a light weight indicates dehydration from a long shelf life and excessive time spent in storage. As Amaya will contest they are on the sweet side with a bright floral flavor that perfectly complements their sunny complexion. It is rounder and smoother than your everyday lemon and on looks alone it will beguile you. The fact that they are utterly delicious and produce large amounts of juice for their size make them that much better.
Now that cold and flu season is in full swing we like to prepare a variation on Laurie Colwin's hot lemonade. Meyer lemon juice, hot water, honey and a cinnamon stick, blended to taste and reinforced with the spirit of your choice. We find that one lemon makes two generous mugs of lemonade. It's our variation on the rock and rye liquor that was mixed with tea and used to ward off the chill in times gone by. These Meyer lemons are just like sunshine in a glass. The drink warms you from the inside out and helps make the world feel like a better place on a damp and chilly evening.