Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tallahassee Style-Meyer Lemon Limoncello Liqueur

We had to harvest all our Meyer lemons when the "polar vortex" decided to visit the sunshine state.  We have one tree about 8-10 feet tall, that must be planted in just the right location because this tree has provided this season at least 500 healthy Meyer lemons.  My fingers are crossed that the freeze damage to my citrus tree is minimal and that it can recover.

I have spent the season discovering new ways to enjoy my Meyer lemons.  I promised to share my lemons more this season, with family and friends, and I did. I promised to find new ways to use my lemons, and I did.  Now, shut the front door! Because I also learned how to make booze with my Meyer lemons. An Italian liqueur called limoncello.

There are two schools of thought on making this Italian classic liqueur.  You can use vodka or grain alcohol.  A follower took the liberty to school me to ensure that I used grain alcohol.  The reasoning is that the grain alcohol has a higher proof, and increases the ability of the alcohol to draw out the insoluble oils in the lemon peel.  In theory, this produces a richer lemon flavor.  I had so many lemons, that I made it both ways. To play it safe my recipe below uses grain alcohol.

When I went to check on my resting liquor containers (ready 1/24) an observation was made that batches using grain alcohol was already a deeper yellow.  The vodka batch was a paler yellow.  The jury is still out because taste still matters.  No matter at the end of the day I have 13 quarts limoncello to enjoy ice cold with family and friends.

The lemon peels starting their journey to limoncello heaven macerating in the grain alcohol.

Straining the macerated alcohol and discarding the peels. 

The final resting place for another month.

Meyer Lemon Limoncello
Recipe from Foodista

15 Meyer Lemons, Organic
2 bottles Everclear Grain Alcohol, 750 ml each
6-1/3 cups water
2- 1/3 lb. (4 cups plus 2/3 cups) of fine white granulated sugar
2 large storage containers or glass jars. I used 2-quart  mason jars
Stock pot big enough for alcohol and sugar water
Large hand held mesh strainer


Step One:

1.  Peel lemons carefully with a vegetable peeler into long strips.  Do not peel the white pith of the lemon.

2.  Place the strips of lemon peel in your containers and distribute evenly

3.  Pour the Everclear over the lemon peels and cover tightly to macerate for two weeks.

4.  Store away from direct sunlight, preferably in cool dry place

5.  Let it rest undisturbed for TWO WEEKS

Step Two:

6.  Heat the water and add the sugar, stirring until it is all dissolved.  Let  cool for about an hour.

7.  Strain the liquor removing the lemon peels, into the sugar water pot.  Discard lemon peels.

8.  Decide if you want to re-use the same storage containers or bottles for your final month of rest.

9.  Return the liquor to the container of your choice and rest again for another month.

10.  After the long month, your Limoncello is ready!

It is best stored in the freezer and drank cold. 


Blond Duck said...

So pretty!

Big Dude said...

One of the disadvantages of many crops is that they all come in at the same time, but looks like you've found a good way to preserve some of yours. Although I've never tried limoncello, your finished product looks very good.

Sam Hoffer @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Ooh, you've bottled the limoncello so beautifully Velva. Lucky you (and your friends) that you will have a bumper crop this year. I would love to try my hand at making it one day, but I think I need a Meyer lemon tree first...

Bill said...

I've got some in my pantry right now. Still waiting to strain it. So timely that you posted this recipe. I love limoncello and this really is better than what you buy in the liquor store. Hope you all have a happy new year!! Great post!

Just Cake Girl said...

It looks amazing! Have a great year Velva!

Ramona JapaneseRedneck said...

I'm glad you found something to use them for. I'll try to remember this if my tree ever makes more than one lemon.

LaDivaCucina said...

I love the flowery taste of the Meyer lemon! I want some Velva! I'll pay for shipping next season! They are sooo expensive here, about a dollar each. Good job on the limoncello, sounds lovely!

Karen Harris said...

I made some of this a couple of years ago and can attest to the fact that it is wonderful. Love mixing it with club soda and a big slice of fresh ginger over lots of ice, sitting on the front porch with a good friend in the heat of the summer. Perfect. Enjoy every sip!

That Girl said...

What a fantastic haul! My co-worker has been bringing in regular lemons for me. It's nice knowing people who grow things!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

What a great way to use some of those Meyer Lemons! I can't wait for the taste test results. I've only made limoncello once using regular store-bought lemons and vodka.

Hope your tree recovers as it sounds like a really good producer.

Joanne said...

Definitely a great use of those meyers! I see many lemony cocktails in your future!

Taste of Beirut said...

funny, I am macerating some myrtles, in vodka for a month; did not know that making limoncello was that easy! will try it with Seville oranges. Looking good!

Hungry Dog said...

I adore limoncello...perhaps it's time I gave making it a try!

Sarah said...

This looks amazing! I haven't had limoncello in a long time.

KgReciPe said...
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Catherine said...

Wow! Velva, I am impressed!! Making your own limoncello. Wonderful!
I bet it will be great! Keep warm. It is expected that another cold spell is on the way.
Blessings, Catherine xo

grace said...

this is such a neat and interesting idea! i've only recently come to appreciate all that alcohol has to offer (in moderation, of course...) and i'd really like to give this a try!

Monet said...

Gorgeous! And wouldn't one of those make the best hostess gift? Thank you for sharing!

Beth said...

I hope your tree survives. Sounds like it's had an amazing output this year! This is one great way to put those lemons to use.

~~louise~~ said...

Hi Velva!

I'm so excited for you! You made your own Limoncello! Way cool! I've heard it is fairly easy to make but I have never tried it myself. We don't have a steady supply of Meyers up here in PA, sometimes we have a problem getting any kind of lemons, lol...

I think its great you used both methods. I'm curious to hear which one gets the "blue" label, lol...

I do hope your tree makes it. Did you wrap it in a blanket or some kind of protection? We use to do that with Fig trees when I lived in New York.

I have quite a few recipes on my citrus Pinterest board that use Limoncello as an ingredient. Some of them look quite interesting. I will of course be adding your masterpieces too.

Thank you so much for sharing, Velva! Enjoy...

Grandbabycakes said...

Oh I love this! I adore limoncello and homemade is pretty awesome.

Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes said...

Isn't limoncello amazing? I'm such a fan of homemade liqueurs, and with meyer lemons! And from your own tree! Simply wonderful. Enjoy it.

Kitchen Belleicious said...

thats really cool. I never thought to use my meyer lemons that way and it just so happens i picked up a bag of meyer lemons on monday

Marcie FlavortheMoments said...

I love citrus so much, but I've never had limoncello…what's wrong with me? That needs to change soon. This would be an amazing gift if you wanted to part with any of it. :)

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