Our lemon tree in the front yard has been glaring at me for the past few weeks. Each time I pull into the driveway I see it there, covered in lemons: ripening, golden, meyer lemons, that are slowly starting to drop to the ground and rot. I’m so happy to have an abundantly producing lemon tree and can’t bear to lose even a few of them! But I certainly didn’t want to pick them until I had time to do something with them (i.e. a way to can or preserve them). And worse than fruit rotting beneath the tree is fruit rotting in a basket on the kitchen counter.
But the head scratching decision has been what to make. Lemon curd is always great choice, but because of the butter and eggs, I’m not comfortable leaving cans on the shelf, and there’s only so much room in the refrigerator for little jars of lemon curd. Lemon jelly sounds delicious, but I think I would prefer strawberry or plum on my toast. I’d love to preserve just the juice, but when I need lemon juice I don’t usually need an entire can’s worth at one time.
And then, the answer came: Lemonade concentrate! My favorite way to enjoy the lemons is to make lemonade, and what a treat in the summer to have lemonade ready to go!
I followed a recipe for canned lemonade concentrate, but next time I think I’ll try my own recipe with simple syrup and lemon juice. The recipe I used called for lemon zest, which I used against my better judgment. Zest just makes it bitter, and who wants bitter lemonade? If this lemonade concentrate turns out to be too “zesty”, I may end up mixing it with carbonated water and make lemon soda this summer. But there’s more lemons on the tree, anyways, so I might just have to make some more.