When Life Gives You Lemons

You are going to have to trust me that this post is not sponsored by Meyer lemons—or any kind of lemons, or any kind of fruit at all, although damn, I hear the boysenberry pays well*—but I am really, really into them at the moment.

* (I don't really hear that. I don't even know what a boysenberry is. Also, I just realized I should have said "I hear the grape pays well" because then you would have said "where did you hear that?" and I could have said "you know, through the grapevine.")

And yes, I realize that "I'm really into Meyer lemons" is the sort of pretentious thing from which you would run screaming if you saw it on someone's dating profile—actually, would you? Because on second thought I'm wondering if I might hit them up with a quick message to ask them where they find the best deal—but bear with me on this because nothing else particularly exciting is going on in my life right now and unless you want to hear about work (you don't, and also I would probably get fired), we're going to have to talk about Meyer lemons today and the various ways in which I am consuming them.

Rest assured, however, that there will be no artily Instagrammed pictures of my Meyer lemons (NOT A EUPHEMISM) (GOOD ONE, THOUGH) to accompany this post. Mostly because I have already consumed them all. And also because I figure you know what lemons look like. 

So what I am primarily doing with my Meyer lemons is making the world's best drink with them. It is really, really, really easy and all you need—apart from a Meyer lemon or two—is a glass and some fizzy water. I'm telling you, this isn't rocket science. It is, however, delicious science.

The French have a drink called the citron pressé, which I vividly remember ordering for the first time, aged 14, in a cafe in the south of France during a school field trip. This sounds glamorous, until you remember that I went to school in England, which is so close to France that it is basically the equivalent of taking a field trip to, I don't know, that living museum three towns over from your middle school where people dressed up in colonial bonnets and did live candle-making demonstrations and tried to remain in character while vengeful tweens threw their gum wrappers at them.

When I first tried the citron pressé, my eyes rolled back in my head and a choir of angels sang—except of course they sang in French which made it even more fancy—and I vowed right then and there that I would drink the citron pressé every day for the rest of my life. It felt like kind of a fiddly multi-step process, though, and things got sort of busy between the ages of 14 and 32, so I ended up only drinking a handful more citron pressés in the intervening years, which was kind of a disappointment, sure, but I was also convinced, when I was 14, that I would one day marry Jon Bon Jovi, and since that didn't end up panning out too well either, I guess I just sort of figured eh, another broken dream. 

But then a few weeks ago I was down at my parents' house in San Diego and my mother was squeezing Meyer lemons for a lemon meringue pie, and she had a little bit of lemon juice left over so she poured it into a glass for me and filled it up with some San Pellegrino, and when I took a sip my first thought was WAIT, THIS IS A CITRON PRESSÉ.

Now, technically, a citron pressé is a little bit of freshly-squeezed lemon juice, topped up with a little bit of sparkling water—which is brought to you in its own separate fancy carafe—and sweetened with a teaspoon or two of granulated sugar. You make the whole thing yourself at your little café table, adding the water and sugar to taste, and then you take a sip, pucker your mouth into a hugely unflattering grimace, and add another tablespoon of sugar. Basically, it's DIY lemonade, but you get to feel like Catherine Deneuve while you're drinking it.

(Also, when saying the words citron pressé to each other, my sister and I can only do so in a high-pitched voice while closing our eyes tight and making the puckered-up face with our lips. I realize that I should have told you this part at the beginning so you could have done the same throughout this whole post.) 

What I have come to find out, though, is that you can make a pretty decent facsimile at home—with way less effort than my 14-year-old-self realized—and, what's more, if you use Meyer lemons (told you I would get to the point eventually), you don't even need the sugar. They're sweet enough, you see—which, if you thought hard enough about, I think you could probably somehow make into a pretty convincing pick-up line. (Hey baby, are you a Meyer lemon? Because you sure look sweet to me. Or something along those lines. Okay, I am clearly not the person to do this. Haven't been on a date since 1998.) 

And so all this is to say that I have been making the poor man's citron pressé pretty much every day for the last couple of weeks, and I'm not sure why I needed to write seven hundred paragraphs explaining that hey guys, if you squeeze two Meyer lemons into a glass and then top it up with San Pellegrino, it's really good, but I did, and so here we are. Next, please allow me to tell you about this really cool thing I have invented. IT IS CALLED THE WHEEL. 

(PS: If your culinary prowess goes above and beyond squeezing some lemons into a glass and adding water—well, now you're just showing off!—you could instead use your Meyer lemons to make this incredible cake, which I did last night and found utterly delicious. Two thumbs up! Actually, one thumb up, because the other hand is shoveling cake into my mouth while I type.)

1
Heather
Feb 04, 2013

Sold. I have two lemon trees FULL of lemons. Also, now I want some Lemon Meringue Pie. Mmmm. But I want someone else to make it for me...

2
Elissa
Feb 05, 2013

You have me mourning the lack of meyer lemons in my life. Oh to be in California where they are plentiful and less expensive! If you are looking for another recipe, I once used a meyer lemon to great effect in this lemon bar recipe: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2011/02/whole-lemon-bars-recipe/

3
Lizzie
Feb 05, 2013

Meyer Lemons are now stocked at Tesco!

Given your fondness for them, plus the fact that I figure you know what Tesco is, I thought it worth sharing. I was so excited when I heard, that I emailed the article about it to pretty much everyone I know.

Also, over 1000 words (What? No, of course I didn't check. That would be weird... and a little creepy ... wouldn't it? ...) on lemon juice and sparkling water is inspired.

4
Kate
Feb 05, 2013

I started this post thinking, "She's not really going to write about ONLY lemons...is she?" And, although you did, it was in a charming way so that makes it alright.

5
ivy
Feb 05, 2013

I do this too, I didn't know it was French! Part of my pre-wedding diet was to (try to) cut out wine during the week, but I really missed having something delicious to sip on in the evening. So I bought a Soda Stream and started making my own fizzy water (I don't like the taste of San Pelligrino et al.). It just happened that our Meyer lemon tree started producing fruit around the same time and viola! I find that it's also good with regular old lemons (just fewer of them), or you can use half an orange for an Orangina-type drink. Now that I've written that, I'm not sure why I didn't know it was French.

6
Marcheline
Feb 05, 2013

This sounds like an excellent drink, if only it had a bit of gin added. Never met a Meyer lemon in my life, but then again I wasn't looking for one. The best things are the hardest to find, n'est ce pas?

7
Shelly
Feb 05, 2013

I've been doing something kinda similar, I add lime juice to soda water and add mashed up berries of whatever sort I have around.

8
Jessica Hulse Dillon
Feb 05, 2013

You never have to apologize for posting about lemons, I use them in about 50% of the cooking I do, dont know why i never thought to add them to my bubbly water as well!

9
findingmagnolia
Feb 05, 2013

My grandfather's favorite pie was boysenberry, but it was seasonal, so he would get really excited when the restaurant he frequented for pie had it. I don't know how many times I sat across from him while he devoured a slice or two of that pie, but I still couldn't tell you what a boysenberry looks like. Elusive berries, those boysenberries.

10
Elizabeth
Feb 05, 2013

I have an entire Meyer lemon tree with more stupid lemons on it than I have ever seen in my entire life (it's my husbands only hobby to see how many lemons he can get the thing to produce, basically). Which is why I say I HIGHLY recommend making some Meyer Lemon Marmalade. Actually, this might be super weird, seeing as how I am an internet stranger, but if you want me to send you any combination of meyer lemons/candied lemon peel/marmalade, holler. I have a large amount of all of it and I'd be happy to send some your way. And I promise I am not a creepy internet stalker.

11
Lorena
Feb 05, 2013

Hi Holly! What a coincidence, I am in the midst of a lemon-love affair too! I hosted a baby shower and bought a large bag of lemons to use as vase fillers. I was left with tons of lemons! Determined not to let them go to waste I made the following recipes:
http://www.marthastewart.com/315603/glazed-lemon-cookies and lemon pasta http://www.americastestkitchen.com/recipes/detail.php?docid=26823 I still have 4 left & I think I'll make both your recipes tonight! Thx

12
Julie
Feb 05, 2013

How wonderful! I will be on an immediate hunt for Meyer lemons, because just being able to tell myself that they are intended for a citron presse will be reward enough. (Though, of course, I will as many other people as possible).

13
Bellie
Feb 05, 2013

Hmmmm......my sister craved these all throughout both her pregnancies :)

14
Saucepan Man
Feb 06, 2013

Get Elizabeth (#10) to give you her recipe, Holly. I'd like to try that Meyer lemon marmalade...

15
Camels & Chocolate
Feb 06, 2013

And there you go writing 700 paragraphs about Meyer lemons. And making me laugh every word of them, too.

16
Sara
Feb 06, 2013

Sounds delicious! I'm surprised you don't have a Soda Stream. My husband and I absolutely love ours. We never drink straight juice anymore...always mix it half and half with sparkling water for a spritzer - so tasty!

17
Lindsey
Feb 07, 2013

How can you write about only lemons and make me laugh like LEMONS ARE THE BEST?!

18
agirlandaboy
Feb 07, 2013

I'm trying to stop starting comments with "Dude," but DUDE! That lemon tree in our backyard is all Meyers, and did you know Simon got a hold of a giant CO2 tank so we now carbonate our own water in the basement? Or maybe what I mean to say is thank you for giving me the name "citron presse" so we can stop calling it "fizzy lemon water," and also, stop by any time.

19
Daisy
Feb 10, 2013

I, too, love Meyer lemons because they're so sweet that you don't need to add sugar to whatever you're making (most of the time).

For cold winter nights in SF, I discovered that you can make tea by just squeezing a Meyer lemon into hot water which seems so much simpler and less messy than making actual tea with, you know, tea leaves. I realize that as a proper British lass, you may take offense at that version of tea, haha.

20
Daisy
Feb 10, 2013

A few years ago, I also discovered the awesomeness of adding elderflower syrup to sparkling water or still water. That is how I also discovered that it is SO MUCH easier to get elder flower syrup in the UK and Europe than in California. Now every time I go to a liquor store or a fancy grocery store like Berkeley Bowl, I'm on the prowl for elderflower syrup. If only Ikea would bring back their elderflower syrup! The last time I went, I had to settle for buying their 3 pack of elderflower juice boxes. I couldn't decide if I felt super cool or really lame for looking like a four year old drinking a juice box.

21
sushiandstrudel
Mar 02, 2013

ha! here in Austria, my favorite non-alcoholic drink! Soda Zitrone! (The name here:) )

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