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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – December 28

On Christmas day I picked one of the Meyer lemons (Citrus × meyeri) off of the tree in the kitchen and made a Meyer lemon risotto for dinner. The Meyer lemon is commonly grown as a potted, ornamental tree in China, and it’s thought to be a cross between a lemon and an orange. Fruit from this citrus tree is more fragrant than a common lemon, and when you live in a snowy climate nothing lifts the soul more than picking your homegrown fruit.

It takes almost a full year for the lemons to develop and grow. My trees are commonly in bloom in January or February, and I’ll pick fruit from those blossoms anywhere between November and March the following season. It isn’t a fast crop, but it’s worth waiting for. No other citrus flavor is quite the same.

I’ve got a couple slow-growing projects in my life right now, one being my recovery from the hip replacement and the other a novel that is about 2/3 finished. Both are progressing, little by little. But as the characters develop and the words mount up; as I’m able to move my leg today in a way that I couldn’t yesterday, it’s as satisfying as picking that homegrown fruit.

Meyer Lemon Risotto: Sauté some finely chopped onions in a pan with olive oil and add one cup of Arborio rice when they’re just starting to turn brown. Pour in between ½ and 1 cup of white wine and stir until all the liquid is gone. Keep adding chicken broth, one cup at a time, stirring over medium heat. Once the rice is almost done but still has some crunch, add another cup of the broth, cover the pan and turn the heat down to low. Just before serving add the finely grated rind of 1 large Meyer Lemon and the juice of that lemon along with one cup of Parmesan cheese. Add freshly ground pepper to taste, serve with a dish of Parmesan cheese.

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