Living in the east, or maybe because I am just not a foodie, I had not heard of Meyer Lemons, until a friend in Texas offered to send some to me from her over producing Meyer lemon tree. I thought I would be getting a box of lemons, just like any other lemon I was used to. But when the box arrived, I soon realized that I was looking at a whole new breed of lemon!
Meyer Lemons are sweeter and look rounder in appearance than regular lemons. Some people compare them to a cross between a tangerine and a lemon. I am not sure how I would describe them, but I liked the taste and knew right away I would be using every last bit of these yellow sweeties for something.
The first thing I did with the lemons was to create a photo shoot. I love a bowl full of lemons.
I squeezed a jar of fresh lemon juice, enjoyed lemon slices in tea, water and fruit juice. I dehydrated slices, and made lemon vinegar cleaner out of the used lemon peels.
But I still had lemons that needed to be used. I really enjoyed making vanilla extract last year, so I thought it would be good to make some lemon extract. Simple enough to do. Here is how I made the lemon extract.
Lemon Extract Instructions
Trim off the zest of 6 lemons, being careful to not get the white pith underneath the peel. The pith can lead to bitterness.
I used two pint jars. Separated the lemon zest into the two jars.
(or just make one jar- it’s up to you)
Add vodka to the jars to fill. Cap the jars.
Place the jars in a cool dark place, such as a cabinet.
Let the mixture sit for about 4 weeks. Open the jar after the 4 weeks and smell the contents. The lemon smell should be primary. The extract will be ready when the mixture doesn’t smell like just alcohol and there is a slight yellow color and slightly oily appearance.
Strain the extract through a coffee filter into a clean jar. Discard or dry the leftover peels. I added the zest to a potpourri blend when completely dry. I just couldn’t bear to throw them out!
I then poured the extract into small brown bottles. Ready for gift giving!
Now, I had 8 bottles of lemon extract and I was not sure what I would do with it. I couldn’t remember ever having used it before. First, I looked on the internet to find some recipes and uses for lemon extract. I was astounded at how many recipes used lemon extract! Where have I been? This liquid was really versatile.
How much to use?
McCormick Spice company recommended a use of 1 tsp lemon extract for 1 tsp fresh lemon peel.
Ask.com recommended half that strength at 1 tsp lemon extract for every 2 tsp of fresh lemon peel called for.
Cooksthesauras.com suggested that homemade lemon extract might not be as strong as commercial brand. I can tell you that this was not my finding. My lemon extract was definitely strong and full of lemony flavor.
Over on Livestrong.com, Suzanne Robin, wrote that lemon peel contains limonene and citral, two active ingredients in lemon zest and oils of lemons. Early testing shows promise that lemon extract and lemon zest can reduce the stress hormones.
In addition to using lemon extract in cooking and baked goods, lemon extract can be added to whipped cream, yogurt, and ice cream and sorbets. I would add a teaspoon to vanilla frosting to make a refreshing topping for vanilla cake.
Now to try it out in a real recipe! I searched and searched through so many recipes on the web. Finally, I decided to make Lemon Crinkle Cookies because I saw it listed in many sites. The recipe looked easy enough and easy to adapt, because I never make a recipe exactly as it is written. I don’t follow directions well!
The recipe for the Lemon Crinkle Cookies follows. I really like how they turned out. Lemony, yes, but not in an overpowering way. I frosted some of the cookies because my husband likes a very sweet cookie. I like a milder cookie and these are more of a tea cookie. Just to my liking!
- 1 and 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon zest from one Meyer lemon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper
- In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
- In the large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and the lemon zest. add the butter and beat until smooth and fluffy.
- Add the eggs mixing well.
- Add the vanilla extract and the lemon extract
- Add the dry ingredients mix until just combined.
- Put the confectioners' sugar in a wide bowl or pie plate
- Scoop out approx two tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough. roll into a ball.
- coat each ball in the confectioners' sugar
- Place the cookies on the baking sheets 2 inches apart. Cookies will not spread much so you can put 15 on each sheet
- Bake 10 to 12 minutes until the tops of cookies get crinkled. They are fairly light colored when done.
- Cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes then transfer to cooling racks or a sheet of foil to continue cooling.
- Enjoy with tea, coffee, or anytime. A refreshing light cookie
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