The first few times I bought these orange-tinted lemons with a bergamot scent from the woman who I will forever think of as the Meyer lemon lady, she couldn't resist asking me if I knew what I was doing.
"They are not normal lemons, you know," she warned.
When she saw me buy a dozen of these lemons for the fourth or fifth time, she realized that I was not exactly a normal customer. That was when she suddenly became talkative.
"Some people love these lemons and some don't," she said. "People have come back and yelled at me because they were surprised by the taste."
Meyer lemons are a rare sight in Nice, and I probably never would have noticed them had it not been for my friend Peter from San Diego, who first spotted this unmistakeable fruit at the Cours Saleya market. At first, I wasn't sure what he was so excited about: what could be better, I thought, than the zingy lemons from nearby Menton, which is famed for its citrus fruit? Then he made this tart with Meyer lemons as part of our Christmas feast, and I became an instant convert.
A few days later I came across the Meyer lemon lady at the Libération market, and since then I've felt positively panicky every time my supply runs low. More fragrant, sweeter and much juicier than normal lemons, they have gone into any recipe in which I would use ordinary lemons: most remarkable lately was a lemon cream sauce for linguine made with their juice, plenty of zest, parmesan and crème fraîche. I like them in salad dressings, particularly with carrots and/or avocado, and Sam loves to squeeze them for lemonade.
The other day, the Meyer lemon lady and I got talking about jam and she nearly swooned at the memory of her last batch of Meyer lemon marmalade. It turns out that the procedure is exactly the same as for my Seville orange marmalade, though she advised using a little less than 50 per cent sugar. I stocked up even more than usual and Sam and I spent a pleasant hour slicing the lemons and painstakingly setting aside the pips for their pectin. The next day the pips had gone missing, which, as Philippe pointed out, was my own fault for not telling him what they were for. Not to be deterred, I squeezed a few mandarins and hid the precious pips at the back of the refrigerator, behind my Artisan Bread in Five Minutes dough.
There seemed to be plenty of pectin in the resulting marmalade made with about 40 per cent sugar, which began to gel within half an hour of coming to the boil. I was surprised by its orange-gold color, though there was no mistaking its mysterious lemon-bergamot taste. Spread thinly on toasted homemade bread this morning it was my idea of a perfect breakfast, but even more sublime was a little of its jelly smeared on a square of dark chocolate after lunch.
13 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.
Hi Rosa: I loved the idea of making Meyer lemon marmalade...and have a question based on your recipe for Seville Marmalade. About how many pounds or kilos of Meyers would you use? Some of the ones I have are quite small. And, would you still use a sweet orange to offset the lemon? Look forward to a tour of the Nice market with you one of these times. A bientot...SKaylor
Hi Susie, I normally use about 2-3 kilos of citrus fruit to make marmalade, but this time I was a little lazy so I used about 1 1/2 kilos and got seven jars of marmalade. I didn't add any other fruit that might detract from its Meyer lemon-ness. Hope to see in you Nice!
How gorgeous! I've never used a meyer lemon, but I see them so often on blogs I think I might have to search some out. (And I adore your blog banner, by the way!)
Abby, meyer lemons are definitely worth seeking out. Glad you love the banner, I'll pass that on to my artist friend Sonya!
Rosa, hello! I can't believe your timing - I have been looking for a Meyer lemon marmalade recipe and had resigned myself to altering one from a book on the shelf, then I opened your blog on Tuesday and voila! Thank you. The fruit on the little tree in a pot at the back door desperately needs to be used and I can't wait to start slicing tonight. I will be in Nice next month and hope we can catch up. It has been fabulous to see your entries return after the Christmas break.
Hi Sonia, I'm so glad this recipe came at the right time for you! I'm sure your marmalade will be delicious. Please do get in touch when you're in Nice, it will be lovely to see you!
Howdy from the Great State of Texas in the United States of America!! I plan to use your marmalade recipe when visiting my 88 year old uncle in San Francisco. He has a bearing Meyers Lemon tree which was planted approximately 15 years ago by a neighbor. She went from house to house in the neighborhood and planted lemon trees or cherry trees. Now his is one of the remaining trees the rest have died. We share lovely memories of Nan when we eat or use one of her plantings as Nan died a few years ago.
Happy New Year. I enjoy your site.
Hello Rosa, Do I understand it right, you are using the whole peel, and not taking out the white part, as I found in other recipes? Today found some great bergamot lemon and sevilla orange at the organic market here in Amsterdam. I can't wait to make some marmelade!
Howdy Meg! How thoughtful of your neighbor to have planted those lemon trees; I'm glad that at least one survives.
Patricia, that's right, I use every bit of the lemon. The jam has a bitter edge, like marmalade, but I don't mind that at all!
Hello again Rosa. I DID make the Meyer lemon marmalade and it is superb! Everyone who has tasted it loves it. I stirred about a tablespoon full of marmalade into a quart of vanilla ice cream for a quick dessert. Yum!
I did have to test it for a long time before it began to set up, but in the end it has a great consistency. Thanks again for sharing the recipe.
Hi Susie, thanks for letting me know! The cooking time can vary hugely, but I find that the pectin from the soaked pips can speed it up quite a lot. I'll have to try that vanilla ice cream trick, sounds wonderful!
A very late question--and now out of season too--but have you ever seen Meyer lemons in Paris? I have never come across them in the more obvious places (Bon Marche, Batignolles market), but wondered if you had perhaps had more luck. Thanks!
Shira, I have never come across Meyer lemons in Paris and I think the chances of finding them are very slim since the Ile de France is not a citrus-growing region. Fortunately, Paris has other things to offer!