Well, if you're me, you make limoncello, limoncello cocktails, lemon marshmallows, lemon curd, lemonade (still and sparkling), add it to kombucha, and use it to kick up all of the savory dishes with a squeeze of the good stuff.
Historically I've begged neighbors for their extra lemons, offering to pick them even. When they don't cough them up I end up looking for them on Facebook marketplace, and Nextdoor, so that I could have lemon water every morning. When I started making kombucha at home last year, I switched out lemon water for the probiotic and antioxident rich beverage, but I still look forward to having lemons on hand and continue to pester neighbors for them.
Fast forward to being trapped at home for the foreseeable future, and I'm getting pretty creative with this California abundant fruit. Here is the official list of recipes that I've been cranking out since this pandemic began, and I found myself with tens of pounds of lemons. Reach out to your neighbors, forage in the streets, source them through local online marketplaces and support people that could use some extra cash these days. I highly encourage you to trade and gift your goods, you never know what you'll get in return. This is one of my favorite things to come out of this time of sheltering in place. At least in our corner of the world, our community has grown and strengthened. I've traded the lemon marshmallows for bleach so that I can do a mountain of laundry, while another incredible neighbor traded me some of her homemade cheese for a bag of the zesty marshmallows. I've given pain salves away, and have been given secret gifts and donations in return, left on our doorstep with a kind note. We've dropped off care packages, and have had people offer to pick up groceries for us (and have been given them free of charge on a few occasions).
So truly, life has given this planet a copious amount of lemons, and I hope you are learning to roll with the punches, and make the most of them.
This recipe makes enough to share, and can certainly be halved if you don't want to be tempted with bottles hanging around in the freezer that you visit multiple times a day.
15 Lemons (skin only, removed with this peeler so that minimal white pith remains)
1.5 L Everclear
2 c Sugar
2 c Water
1 Vanilla Bean (optional) split and scraped
Macerate the everclear with the lemon peels in a giant glass vessel, covered for 3 weeks in a dark location in your home. Shake the jars a bit every week to get all of the oils moving around.
After 3 weeks, strain the peels out.
Make the simple syrup by bringing the water and sugar to a boil for 5 minutes, and then immediately remove it from the heat. Let it cool completely.
Combine the strained alcohol with the simple syrup, and funnel into glass flip top bottles. If you are making the vanilla version, add the split and scraped bean to one of the bottles. Allow to mature for a month in a cool, dark location, agitating them every week, or few days.
At the end of the month, store the bottles in the freezer.
Now, you can just do the traditional thing and pour a small glass straight out of your freezer into a delicate glass to enjoy after dinner...or you can make one of these cocktails to enjoy any time of the day, because who's keeping track or judging these days? Not me.
Limoncello Quarantini V1
Pair with lunch in front of an episode of something stimulating or mind numbing, you choose.
2 ounces Limoncello
Juice of Half a Lemon
1 ounce of Orgeat
Bubbly water (please get yourself a home water carbonator, and stop wasting plastic water bottles)
Pour limoncello, lemon juice, and orgeat in a highball over ice, mix and top with bubble water. Sip as if it were just a fancy adult lemonade filled with illness fighting Vitamin C.
Limoncello Quarantini V2
I can't tell you how good this one is. Legit delish. Makes a great dessert substitute.
2 ounces Vanilla Limoncello
Juice of Half a Lemon
Combine Vanilla Limoncello, lemon juice, condensed milk, and ice in a shaker; shake that ish for 30 seconds. Remove the lid (probably one of the hardest things you'll have to do during this time), pour in a bit of bubbly water, swirl, and pour right into a glass of your choosing so that you can fully admire the creaminess and the vanilla "caviar" floating about.
Marshmallows are one of those things I've perfected. I started making them in the early 2000s, and I'm going to go ahead and pat myself on the back for these, and several others I've created over the years. Even my sugar averse husband can be heard igniting the blow torch in the kitchen at 4 in the morning if there are any homemade marshmallows on hand.
1/2 c Fresh Lemon Juice, free of seeds
1/2 c Water
1/2 c Sugar
1/2 c Agave Syrup
Pinch of Salt
Combine lemon juice and gelatin in the bottom of the bowl of your stand mixer, set with the whisk attachment.
In a heavy bottom pot, combine water, sugar, agave syrup, and pinch of salt, and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, and then let it boil without stirring until it reaches 240 degrees.
Slowly and carefully pour the sugar mixture into the bowl of the mixer, while it is on low. This is an extremely dangerous step, do not let kids do this, and be incredibly careful while you do it.
Once everything has been poured in, turn the mixer to high, and allow to whip while it cools and becomes light and fluffy, looking like marshmallow fluff.
While it is whipping, prepare your sheetpan. Make sure it is absolutely clean, and dry, and then over a sink, gently spray the pan with oil. You want a very thin layer. Use a paper towel if necessary to thoroughly coat the pan. Gently dust the oiled pan with powdered sugar, making sure to cover the entire surface.
Once the marshmallow has cooled, and is at full volume, pour it into the prepared pan, using a heatproof spatula to get it all out of the bowl, and off the whisk attachment.
You can use a microplane to grate lemon zest on top, or sprinkle lavender on the sticky surface. Allow to cool and set for 6 hours plus.
Coat the top of the marshmallow with powdered sugar, gently rubbing it into the surface.
Carefully peel the marshmallow out of the pan so that the top is now on top of a cutting board, and coat the exposed surface with powdered sugar.
Have a gallon ziploc bag ready filled with a cup of powdered sugar. Cut the marshmallows in any shape that floats your boat, and then toss in the bag to coat with powdered sugar.
Eat them within a week. After a couple of days to cure, you can in fact roast them, but be careful because they are very delicate.
One of my favorite things to do with this simple recipe, is to fold it into whipped cream once it's cool to make a nice and fluffy filling for tarts.
1/2 c Lemon Juice
1 c Sugar
4 Egg Yolks
6 T Butter
In a heavy bottom pan, combine lemon juice, sugar, and egg yolks over medium heat. Whisk until it becomes thick, and then quickly remove from heat whisk in the butter, one piece at a time.
Strain into a glass container, and place plastic wrap directly on top to prevent a skin from forming. Allow to chill for 4 hours before using.