It’s almost time to pick Meyer lemons! That means the key limes aren’t far behind. My backyard citrus orchard is just a few years old, planted after Katrina took down a hackberry tree, creating a newly sunny spot. Last year, the meyer lemon tree bloomed prolifically and set lots of fruit. Luckily, more than a dozen fruits survived the winds of Gustav & Ike. The pictured lemons’ skins are scarred by bird pecking, a cosmetic blemish that does not affect quality.
Meyer lemons are a cross between ordinary sour lemons and a variety of satsuma. Meyers are lower in acidity, sweeter, and almost floral in perfume; more like an orange than a lemon. The juice is great in any sort of sweet application (lemon curd, meringue pies, lemon bars, cocktails), but it lacks the distinctly sour notes of other lemons. Thin skinned, the fruits don’t travel well and are prone to fungus after picking, so they command a premium retail price. Fortunately, the trees are easy to grow in Louisiana and almost obnoxiously productive once established. The hardest part is figuring out what to do with all of the lemon juice.