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Meyer Lemons…They are Everywhere!

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I was shopping at Whole Foods Market the other day and grabbed a small bag of lemons to put into my homemade chicken soup. When took them out to start prepping for the soup, I noticed the bag said “Meyer Lemons”. I didn’t really think much of it, but I did notice that the color was a warmer shade of yellow than a normal lemon, and they were softer (I could squeeze them). I sliced into one to juice it, and noticed the skin and pith were thinner than a regular lemon, and much more juice came out. I took a taste and noticed that it was still a bit sour like a regular lemon, but had a very sweet and refreshing finish. I continued with my soup recipe and it came out delicious.

That night, I was watching Anne Burrell on Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. She was making pancakes with ricotta cheese and…Meyer lemons! I had initially thought “Meyer” was just a brand name, like “Dole”. I didn’t realize they were an actual type of lemon. Anne talked about how much sweeter and more versatile Meyers are than regular lemons.

The next day, I received my copy of Martha Stewart’s Whole Living magazine in the mail, and opened it up right to an article about…you guessed it…Meyer lemons*. There were several delicious looking recipes in the article. I also learned that these lemons were named after Frank Meyer, who was an agricultural explorer at the turn of the 20th century.

I decided that I was now fated to learn more about these lemons, so I googled them and found countless articles and recipes and food blogs dedicated to Meyer lemons. I learned that Meyer lemons are native to China, where, at that time they were used as household decorations.

According to an article I saw on NPR, Frank Meyer was introduced to these lemons “…on several trips to Asia with the mission of collecting new plant species. Among more than 2,500 plants that he introduced to the U.S., the Meyer lemon was named in his honor.”

Apparently I have been living under a rock since I just now found out about Meyer lemons, but I am very excited to incorporate them into my existing recipes that use lemons, as well as try some of the new recipes I’ve come across. I’ve also come across Meyer lemon infused  teas, olive oils and vinaigrettes, marmalades, and various dessert mixes that all look very appetizing.

In particular, I’d like to make lemonade with Meyers. Since they are naturally sweeter and less acidic than regular lemons, they would require less added sugar than regular lemonade would. Mmmm, even better…I bet a Meyer limoncello would be divine…

Just thinking about all of these wonderful possibilities is making my mouth water.  It turns out my innocent lemon purchase has turned into a new craving.

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About Rachael Pontillo

  • Love the Meyer Lemon. Once you use them, you never want to go back.

  • I know. I haven’t gone back…and I won’t.

  • Boeke

    I’ve used Meyers for everything for many years. They grow everywhere in California, especially as ornamental trees and bushes and are so prolific that you can usually get them free for the taking from homeowners, just knock on the door first.

    A warning about lemonade: after making daily lemonade for 3 months (one lemon in 16 oz. of water, perhaps a packet of Splenda) my dentist was alarmed at my tooth decay, so I quit.

  • I love to take a walk on the wild side with exotic fruits at the supermarket. I used Meyer lemons for the first time recently as well, and used them to make a gastrique sauce for chicken, a fruity sweet and sour sauce with vinegar. It was delicious!

    Next up to experiment with: Ugli fruit. Just because it’s fun to say!

  • Vanessa that sauce sounds delish! Ugli fruit? I’ll have to give that a try too!