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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Best Lemon Harvest Ever by @JoanReeves

Photo by Anderson Guerra from Pexels
I'm going to brag about our lemon harvest because it was the best we've had since the tree started producing.

Recipe Alert: Fake Lemon Souffle at the end of the post.

Before I had a lemon tree, I thought I'd be picking lemons on sunny summer days.

To my surprise, I learned that the lemons from the trees many of us have in Houston are harvested around Thanksgiving.

The week before Thanksgiving, Darling Hubby put on his suit of armor and marched forth to harvest the lemons.

Just kidding about the armor, but lemon trees have wicked 2-inch thorns that can stab and rip the unwary. It's planted in the corner of our backyard next to a brick wall. I pity anyone who tries to scale that wall from the other side!

But Lemons Are Yellow

Yes, the ones you buy in the supermarket are, but, like oranges, supermarket lemons are given a beauty treatment.

Besides, these are Meyer Lemons. They grow much larger than the common variety sold in grocery stores, have about 4 times as much juice, and very few seeds.

The lemons begin to turn yellow after harvest. You can see one has started to turn.

If we'd left them on the tree until December, they would be mostly yellow. Since the weather forecast was for another freeze, we picked them all. They'd survived one freeze already—see the dark speckled spots on the exterior? That's freeze damage. We didn't want to lose them with another freeze.

What To Do With 3 Dozen Lemons?

That was my dilemma after we'd washed each lemon. Where to store more than 3 dozen lemons? Small fridge in the garage where we store soft drinks and beer. Produce drawer in the kitchen fridge. Fruit basket on the counter.

The largest are the size of softballs!
I used the juice from 1 to make 2 lemon meringue pies for Thanksgiving dinner. I made lemon cake, lemon chicken,  and my lazy lemon souffle.

I didn't want to waste the bounty, but there was no way I could make a lemon something every day.

So Darling Hubby grabbed a strainer and a big bowl. He cut each lemon in half and squeezed the juice into a strainer to remove any seeds. I zested the prettier ones. 

I poured the juice—organic and homegrown—into freezer bags and placed the zest in a smaller freezer bag. The now juiceless lemon halves went to our compost pile.

Fake Lemon Souffle

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons plain white flour
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons of the lemon zest
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Select an ovenproof baking dish that will make a lovely presentation since you'll be serving directly from the baking dish. Also put on some water to boil for step 6.

2. Grate the rind of the lemon until you have 2 teaspoons of rind. Squeeze the lemon to yield at least 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. In a bowl, mix sugar, salt, flour, rind, and juice. (I actually use 4 tablespoons of lemon juice because the homegrown lemons don't taste as acidic.

3. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a glass or metal bowl, not plastic. (Egg whites won't beat well in plastic.) In a large measuring cup or small bowl, beat the yolks, milk, and butter. Add this to the flour mixture. Then beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold this into the flour mixture.

4. Pour the mixture into the ovenproof bowl. Set the dish in a larger ovenproof pan. Pour hot water in the outer pan.

(This technique is called a water bath, and it keeps soufflés and puddings from burning or getting hard on the bottom and sides.) The water should come up to at least 1 inch on the side of the baking dish but not so high that it may slosh into the dish.

5. Bake at 325 for about 50 minutes. You know it's done when you insert a knife around the sides and there's no liquid left because it's all been absorbed.

6. Serves 4-6. This delicate lemon dessert isn't really a soufflé, but it's as light and delicious as any soufflé you've ever had, and it's delicious served hot or cold.

Something lemony makes the gray winter day so much better. Try it!


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  1. Last year our neighbor in Tucson had been gifted with some lemons. He shared some of the bounty with us. I'd never had Meyer lemons before and found them to be amazing. Far better than any I'd ever had.

    1. They're wonderful. So juicy and the flavor is so much better than the ones from the supermarket. We liked it so much we got a Key Lime tree last year. This year, we're planting a fig tree.

  2. We had lemon trees when we lived in CA and loved having fresh lemons. Your fake souffle sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    1. They are wonderful. My hubby is quite into orchard gardening. He planted peach, plum, apple, pear, and fig trees at our country place. We should have a wonderful crop this year from those trees.

  3. Thank you so much for the recipe. I love lemon anything or just about anything. You are so kind and sweet to share. I bet your lemons are really great. I've thought about growing a lemon tree but here in Georgia I was told that it would be better for me to grow it in a pot and have it inside for the winter and take it outside for the summer. I don't have the room to do that. Anyway thank you again.

    1. You're welcome. We actually planted the key lime tree we got last year in a big patio pot. In the winter when expecting a freeze, we tent it with plastic, bungee cord the plastic around the pot, then put an old blanket around the pot itself and bungee cord it to the pot so it won't blow away. It's withstood temperatures down to 20 degrees F. The pot is way too heavy to move into the garage. Usually if you keep the roots watered and protect it from the wind and ice, they survive.

  4. Is there a lemon sauce that you can serve with this?

    1. It's so lemony that you really don't need a sauce. However, if you want a lemon sauce, I do have a recipe. I'll post it to my personal blog on Saturday, Feb. 22, if you want to drop by and copy the recipe. (On Saturday I usually share a recipe or a household tip, etc.)

  5. My parents and I briefly lived in California and my Dad had a Meyers Lemon tree in the courtyard. It was covered with lemons and my Dad was going to harvest it after church. When we got home from church, someone had stripped every lemon off the tree. My Dad was SO mad.

    1. I bet he was mad! Where I lived before, I had 2 loquat trees in my front yard. Loquat tastes similar to a cross between an apricot and an orange. Really delicious. One day this woman rang my doorbell and asked if she could pick a few because she was from Palestine and had loquats there. I told her she could. Both trees were loaded. The next day I was gone. When I got home, both trees had been picked. Not a single loquat left. *LOL* I was a bit angry too.

  6. Lucky lady! I love any kind of fruit tree. The recipe sounds great!

    1. I too love fruit. This year, we're going to plant a fig tree but also try a couple of fruit trees in the front yard where I plan to install a new flower bed.

  7. Love the taste of lemon and the smell. So fresh so clean. I make a special lemon bar recipe, but now my diet says "no, no, don't go there." A very pleasant post.

  8. Joan, you just made me thirsty for lemonade. Thanks for sharing. I'm not a fan of lemon in desserts, but there's nothing like a cool, frothy glass of lemonade on a hot day.


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