The Meyer lemon (Citrus × meyeri) is a citrus fruit native to China thought to be a cross between a true lemon and either a mandarin or common orange. It was introduced to the United States in 1908 by the agricultural explorer Frank Nicholas Meyer, an employee of the United States Department of Agriculture who collected a sample of the plant on a trip to China. By the mid 1940s the Meyer lemon had become widely grown in California. However, at that time it was discovered that a majority of the Meyer lemon trees being cloned were symptomless carriers of the Citrus tristeza virus, a virus which had killed millions of citrus trees all over the world and rendered other millions useless for production. After this finding, most of the Meyer lemon trees in the United States were destroyed to save other citrus trees.
The Meyer lemon is commonly grown in China potted as an ornamental. It became popular as a food item in the United States after being rediscovered by chefs such as Alice Waters at Chez Panisse during the California Cuisine revolution. Popularity further climbed when Martha Stewart began featuring them in her recipes.
Meyer lemon trees are around 6 to 10 feet (2–3 meters) tall at maturity, though they can be pruned smaller. Their leaves are dark green and shiny. The flowers are white with a purple base and fragrant.
The fruit is yellow and rounder than a true lemon. The skin is fragrant and thin, colored a deep yellow with a slight orange tint when ripe. Meyer lemon fruits have a sweeter, less acidic flavor than the more common lemon Lisbon or Eureka grocery store varieties. The pulp is a dark yellow and contains up to 10 seeds per fruit.
Meyer lemons are reasonably hardy, but grow well in a warm climate. They are also fairly vigorous. A tree grown from seed usually begins fruiting in four years. While trees produce fruit throughout the year, the majority of the crop is ready in winter.Trees require adequate water, but less in the winter. For maximum yield, they should be fertilized during growing periods.
Meyer lemons are popular as ornamental plants due to their compact size, hardiness and productivity. They are highly decorative and suitable for container growing.
Check out these space saving ideas that create a beautiful and bountiful garden.
Train a dwarf lemon tree against your fence for fruit, color and fragrance.
Dwarf and compact Meyer lemons are ideal for a "mini orchard." Mix these prolific "fruiters" directly in the mixed border. Try to accompany them with lavender and ornamental grasses for a low water, aromatic garden.
Yes, there is room in your yard for fruit trees.
Look for varieties labeled, “dwarf,” “compact,” “espaliered,” and “patio size.”
Baking with Meyer Lemons................
Lemon Lime Buttermilk Pie
Pastry for 1 crust pie
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
3 beaten eggs
1 cup buttermilk
Juice from one lemon and one lime (about 1/3 cup total)
Zest from one lemon
Zest from one lime
About 1/2 tsp finely grated ginger if desired
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Fit the pastry into a 9″ pie pan.Combine sugar, nutmeg, ginger, citrus zest, and salt in a bowl; mix well.
Add the melted butter and stir until blended. Beat in the eggs, buttermilk, juice, and vanilla. Pour into crust and bake for 10 minutes.Turn heat down to 325 and bake for 30 -35 minutes longer. Cool before slicing. Top with fresh whipped cream and a small lemon and lime slice!
Dorothy Lacefield's delicious lemon pie won Best of Show at the State Fair of Texas and tied for the title of Oprah and Gayle King's "Best of the Best."
Lemon Mousse Pie
3/4 cup toasted almonds , ground
6 Tbsp. butter , melted
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks , lightly beaten
1 Tbsp. grated lemon peel
1/2 cup butter , cubed
1 cup fresh lemon juice
2 bars (4 ounces each) white chocolate , chopped
2 cups heavy whipping cream
8 ounces cream cheese , softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 Tbsp. butter , cut up
1 large egg yolk
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. lemon peel
To make crust: Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 10-inch pie plate. In a medium mixing bowl, combine almonds, crumbs, butter and lemon peel. Press evenly on bottom and sides of pie plate. Bake at 350° degrees for 9 to 10 minutes. Cool completely.
To make lemon curd: Bring sugar, lemon peel and juice to a boil in a heavy 3 1/2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and gradually whisk about 1/4 hot juice mixture into egg yolks; add egg yolk mixture to remaining hot juice mixture, whisking constantly until well blended. Place saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, at least 10 or 12 minutes (mixture will be pudding-like in thickness). Add butter, in 6 batches, whisking constantly until butter melts and mixture is well blended after each addition. Remove from heat and pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on warm curd (to prevent a film from forming); chill 3 hours. Make about 1 1/3 cups.
Microwave white chocolate in a small, microwave-safe bowl at high for 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals.
Beat softened cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add melted chocolate and beat until blended, stopping to scrape down sides. Add lemon curd and beat until blended.
Beat heavy cream at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold into lemon mixture. Spoon mixture into prepared crust, mounding mixture in center of crust. Chill 3 hours.
To make lemon topping: Combine sugar, butter and lemon juice in top of double boiler. Set over pan of simmering water and stir until sugar dissolves and butter melts. Beat egg, yolk and lemon peel in bowl until well blended. Gradually whisk warm butter mixture into egg mixture. Return mixture to double boiler and cook over simmering water until topping is thick, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes; do not boil. Transfer topping to bowl, whisking to smooth. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of topping and chill until cold.
Remove pie from refrigerator. Spread with Lemon Topping. Chill for at least 1 hour. Garnish with sweetened whipped cream, lemon wedges and crumb topping!
A little garden in which to walk, and immensity in which to dream.