When R and I bought the house, I knew that I wanted to get a lemon tree. I stalked our local hardware store until they arrived in April and convinced R that it would be the perfect “housewarming gift” to ourselves. We painstakingly looked through all the lemon and lime trees in the store to find the perfect Meyer Lemon varietal, the tree had 5 established lemons already growing and looked promising. We spent the day transporting the tree, which I promptly named Liz Lemon, home and planted her in a beautiful pot. She spent the summer in our sunroom, where 2 out of 5 of the tiny lemons survived the traumatic move. All summer, R and I doted on Liz Lemon like she was our child. Slowly, but surely, the lemons grew larger, but stayed green. At one point, I expressed to R that it was taking so long maybe we had gotten a lime tree on accident instead.
Finally, about a month ago, the color started changing, and I knew I had lemons. They slowly turned totally yellow, and dropped off the tree.
I was ecstatic. That weekend we had some people over for game night and cut into one of the lemons to garnish our drinks. The inside was nearly orange and smelled very sweet. Oh my gosh, did I get a orange tree instead? All night, everyone discussed the great lemon tree mistake of 2012. The next day, I googled meyer lemons and refreshed my memory to the fact that the meyer type is actually a cross between a mandarin and a lemon, it boasts all of the lemon flavor with much less tartness. Phew.
In hindsight, using one of my lemons to garnish vodka-sodas might not have been the best use of this quality ingredient. I knew that with my 2nd lemon, I needed to make something that would emphasize it’s best features. This Lemon-Honey Tart with Salted Shortbread Crust highlighted Liz Lemon’s delicate flavor perfectly.
We brought Liz Lemon inside near our dining room window that gets lots of light for the winter. A lot of her leaves have fallen off, which I read can be normal when the tree goes dormant. Here’s to hoping Liz Lemon will grow lots this spring and double her production next year!