Sunday, January 26, 2014

On Life, Lemons, and Limoncello

What should one expect when expecting a lemon? Do I need to find a citrus doula and book a lake view suite at Prentice?

I've had a lemon tree for four or five years, and my first fruit is highly anticipated. The tree has produced lots of flowers over the years but the little fruits were weak, jumping from the branch like lemmings when touched by even the gentlest breeze. The problem, I think, was due to general plant weakness from scale. Repotting, pruning, thorough descaling, and regular washing got rid of the scale enabled the tree to gain strength. Most people call this sort of activity gardening. I called it getting all up in a tree's business. Whatever you call it, it worked. Over the summer, its newfound confidence and strength enabled my tree to hold onto one of its fruits.  The lemon is nearly full term now, ripening from a deep green to light green, and taking its sweet time. It's going to be hard to cut into it. The tree has at least twenty flowers on it right now but I'm not expecting a bumper crop, or even a second lemon.

The saying goes, when life hands you lemons, vodka, and 151-proof grain alcohol, you make Limoncello. In possession of all three this past fall, I sought a recipe and embarked on a 16-week curing and bottling experiment. I'm told by my father that it was successful endeavor. I couldn't tell you myself because I cannot stand limoncello - too much alcohol in one place. My dad and step-mom were the inspiration and principal beneficiaries for this project. They both love limoncello and since their birthdays are in the fall and winter, they were both on my heart throughout the project.

Want to make it yourself? Here's the recipe I followed. And here's some pictures from the adventure:

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