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What is a Meyer lemon?

What is a Meyer lemon?

The Meyer lemon is believed to be a hybrid between a lemon and a mandarin or orange.

Meyer lemons are named for Frank Meyer, the man who brought them to the United States in 1908. Meyer was a plant explorer working for the USDA when he "discovered" the soon-to-be-named Meyer hybrid tree growing as a potted plant on the patio of a home in Beijing.

Today, Meyer lemons are grown commercially in California, Texas, and Florida. They are a challenge to ship and store commercially, so you might not find them very far from where they were grown.

What's so special about a Meyer lemon? In general, they're much sweeter than regular lemons, and they have a complex citrus taste that comes from their mandarin/orange lineage. For this reason, Meyer lemons have a certain cachet (and price tag to go with) that regular lemons lack.

We wrote about the Meyer lemon at the Cookthink blog after friends shipped a box of them USPS from the tree outside their home in Marin County. We tried Meyer lemon soufflé, chicken baked with Meyer lemon slices, Meyer lemon cocktails and roasted eggplant with Meyer lemon vinaigrette. Everything we made with the lemons was bright, sweet and intensely citrusy.

Meyer lemon curd, however, took the blue ribbon. We ate it atop waffles in the morning and sponge cake at night. Then, we served it to guests who passed around the nearly-empty bowl to scrape together one more spoonful.

Recipe: Roasted Eggplant and Meyer Lemon Risotto (Cookthink)
Recipe: Quick & Easy Lemon Preserves (The Take-Out Menu Cookbook)
Reference: How to zest a lemon (Cookthink)

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