In California citrus grows all winter long. Here in San Francisco backyard lemon and lime trees reliably produce good fruit and require very little care. All year long I dress salads with olive oil and lemon juice from our tree. On cold days we eat soup with our salad, and on warm days we make lemonade and drink it out back while the grill heats for fish, to eat with our salad.
There are two tricks to keeping a plentiful supply of lemons and limes around. One is convincing young kids not to pick all the fruit at once, because ripe lemons will stay fresh on the tree indefinitely, but not on the counter.
The other is
keeping the rest of the critters away: raccoons, rats, birds, whatever. So far the only thing that seems to work in my garden is offering them something else to eat. A rotting lemon or two on the ground, in a far corner away from the trees and a couple of halloween pumpkins decomposing in strategic locations nearby seem to do the trick. Food for the soil and food for the varmints...er wildlife.
This week our lemonade recipe is from Tom Hudgens' The Commonsense Kitchen, which is a collection from his time at Deep Springs College. An appreciation for the land and animals from which food come is apparent in his writing, along with a love of simple cooking techniques and produce at the peak of perfection. This all makes The Commonsense Kitchen both fun to read and a useful reference that is especially appropriate for this time of year, with 15 recipes starring lemons.
Lemonade:(adapted from Tom Hudgens' The Commonsense Kitchen)
7 medium lemons
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
6 cups water
Wash and dry the lemons. Bring the sugar and 3 cups of water to boil on the stove, stir until the sugar dissolves and turn off the heat.
Zest 3 of the lemons into the hot syrup, you can choose to leave it in or strain it out before pouring into the pitcher.
While the syrup cools, squeeze 6 of the lemons, they should give about 1 1/4 cups of juice. Mix this juice into the syrup. Fill a gallon pitcher about halfway with ice, add the syrup and juice mixture plus 3 more cups of water and stir well. Slice the remaining lemon and toss it into the pitcher.