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Meyer lemons easily differentiate themselves from the common lemon with their shape, fragrance, color and taste. They are ovate yet rounded. Their coloring is a deep brilliant yellow. Their smooth semi-thin peel is fragrant and oily. Their flesh is low acid, aromatic, floral and sweet.
Meyer lemons are available during the fall and winter months with some sporadic off season harvests.
The Meyer lemon, botanically known as Citrus meyerii, is believed to be a natural hybrid of a lemon and a mandarin or a lemon and a sweet orange. The Meyer lemon was plagued by disease until 1975 when the University of California re-released the "Improved Meyer Lemon" tree. The Meyer lemon gets its flavor from its thymol content and contains limonene, a type of flavonoid that protects the immune system.
Meyer lemons are used for their fragrant zest and juice, which is sweeter and more floral than a Eureka or Lisbon. Slice lemons thinly and add to pizza with black olives and goat cheese. Add zest to butter cookies, cranberry scones, cheesecake batter or macarons. Juice and combine with water and simple syrup for lemonade. Mix juice and zest with egg yolks and butter, then cook into lemon curd. Toss fresh pasta with lemon zest, basil and Parmesan. Combine olive oil with juice and zest and use as a marinade or vinaigrette for asparagus, broccoli, or fresh peas. Meyer lemons will keep in cool, dry storage for 2-3 weeks.
Recipes that include Meyer Lemons. One is easiest, three is harder.