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All About Meyer Lemons

What They Are and How to Use Them

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All About Meyer Lemons

Meyer Lemon Tree

Photo © Molly Watson
Meyer lemons, so named because they were identified in 1908 by Frank N. Meyer, are thought to be a cross between Eurekas or Lisbons and a mandarin orange. They have a sweeter and more floral taste than other lemons and can even have an slightly orange tint. They also have very thin skins, making them difficult to transport and store. Most Meyers are grown in California backyards, but rising demand and wide culinary interest has created demand for a commercial crop and they are increasingly available at markets.

Meyer Lemon Season

Meyer lemons are more seasonal than the ubiquitous Lisbon and Eureka lemons, with the limited commercial harvest running from December or January through May.

How to Use Meyer Lemons

Meyer lemons are, as mentioned, sweeter than regular lemons, making them great additions as fruit rather than just juice and for adding lemon flavor without the mouth-puckering sourness of other lemons. I love to add them to salads - sectioned for maximum appeal - like this Fennel Salad With Meyer Lemon or Arugula Salad With Broiled Lemon.

Meyer lemons have a beautiful floral aroma that can add a wonderful note to traditional lemon dishes - lemonade, cocktails, and salads in particular. While their unique flavor can enhance lemon desserts, such as Lemon Bars, they are not as acidic as regular lemons and should not be used one-to-one or blindly substituted in sweet recipes. When in doubt, taste before you bake!

Experiment with Meyer lemons on your own, or try one of these Meyer lemon-specific recipes:

How to Grow Meyer Lemons

Meyer lemon trees like sun but not wind, and warmth. They need plenty of water, but also good drainage. They can stand cold snaps, but not freezing. The good news for lemon lovers in colder climes: Meyer lemon trees do quite well in containers, so you can move them inside and out as the seasons change.

See more about Growing Meyer Lemons.

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