Having lived overseas until recently, I missed the Meyer Lemon phenomena. If you aren’t up on this fantastic, juicy lemon, let me fill you in… (Already a devotee? Take a look at the recipe suggestions below. )
It’s believed to be a cross between a mandarin orange and lemon. It produces more juice without the tartness or bitterness of the average lemon. It also had an edible rind. We have China to thank for the Meyer Lemon. However, the Chinese primarily use it as a decorative house plant.
It wasn’t until the early 1900s that Frank Meyer from the U.S. Department of Agriculture brought specimens over from China. Although the lemon was named after Mr. Meyer, he died in 1918 and never had the chance to see its success in the gourmet food world.
The Meyer lemon became the darling of foodies when Alice Waters from Chez Panisse in California began using it in her cooking, but it went mainstream when Martha Stewart introduced it in her recipes.
Unfortunately, the lemons are quite fragile and difficult to ship outside of the citrus-growing regions, so you typically will only find them in specialty stores. The season can last from November until March, so hurry up and try one before the season runs out.
I’ve used the juice in salad dressings and marinades and the flavor is rounder and fuller without the edge. Its high on fragrance and low on tartiness. Try it in sweet and savory dishes and you won’t be disappointed!