I picked the remaining 40(!) Meyer lemons a few days ago. Those poor lemons have endured several bouts of near- or sub-freezing temperature, which does not improve fruit quality. Picking all the remaining fruit gives the tree a “breather” before it starts flowering in late February, too. My citrus trees need some pruning; all are a bit too tall. The lemon has a few low-hanging branches, growing right in the path of the lawnmower at perfect eye-poking level.
While this is a good time to prune citrus trees for shape, it’s also a time to buy and plant new trees. A backyard orchard doesn’t require 40 acres and a tractor; dwarf potted citrus will flower and bear fruit. The one thing fruit production requires is full sun. So sacrifice a small, sunny patch of lawn (4′-6′ will do) or a corner of the patio and plant a tree. Citrus trees generally run around $15-$25 per tree, depending on the size. (Why not give a tree as a Valentine’s present? It will last longer than chocolates or bath salts, and it reduces your carbon footprint!) For more information on growing citrus, check out the LSU AgCenter’s guide to Louisiana home citrus production.
Back to those fresh-picked lemons: thanks to my new Breville Juice Fountain, I have a freezer full of lemon juice. Once strawberry prices come down out of the stratosphere, I’ll make strawberry lemonade. Meanwhile, I made a lemon icebox pie….it’s just a lemony variation of key lime pie, easy to assemble with few ingredients. Now I need to figure out a way to use up more lemon juice and those leftover egg whites from the pie.
Lemon icebox pie with coconut crumb crust
- 8 whole graham cracker slabs (or substitute vanilla wafers, gingersnaps, or chocolate graham crackers)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened dried coconut
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, melted, plus a bit more for greasing
- 4 egg yolks
- 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk (fat-free is fine)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
In a food processor, pulse graham crackers, unsweetened dried coconut, and sugar until finely ground into crumbs. Lightly grease a deep-dish pie pan. Combine crumbs and melted butter thoroughly, then press crumbs firmly onto bottom and sides of pie pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove pie from oven and reduce heat to 325 degrees.
Mix egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Pour filling into baked crumb crust. Bake at 325 for 15 minutes until filling is set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in center. Refrigerate until completely chilled before serving.