My in-laws have a beautiful Meyer lemon tree in their yard. Thanks to their careful attention and some lemon-loving weather, we often benefit from its juicy, tart fruit.
Later in winter, lemons are at their best — ripe, bright yellow and ranging in size from an egg to a grapefruit. Their bright and refreshing flavor reminds me that, sooner or later, the cold damp days will end and spring will come.
Choosing the right lemons is important. Pluck the plump, juicy ones, but leave those still slightly green on the tree to continue on their path to greatness.
One lemon provides up to 70 percent of our daily vitamin C needs. During the waning weeks of cold and flu season, we can use all the germ-fighting weapons we can get.
This week’s recipes are for a lovely lemon curd and little lavender scones, which you can make with or without the lemon. The scones are light and floral, perfect for shaking off the heavy winter blues.
Lavender is delicious in tea and cakes and smooths the tart lemon flavor in these scones. As one of my chef friends cautioned me, don’t be too heavy-handed and only slightly steep your lavender to keep it from going into soap territory. Just like lemons, a little lavender goes a long way.
If you find yourself with an abundance of lemons, squeeze them, freeze the juice in ice cubes, and then place the cubes in a sealed container or freezer bag. Store them in the freezer for whenever you need two tablespoons or so of juice. A few lemon juice cubes are perfect for stocking impromptu lemonade stands.
Stay well these next few weeks. Carnival season is here, so I’m sure there is a lemon king cake in my future, too.
Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.