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Limoncello Day 2019

Limoncello Day

Today was the day for bottling (Mason jars, actually) the finished Limoncello product that Damsel put away last December. The intermediate step was completed to remove the lemon rinds and add sweetener in January, so after maturing, the product was finally ready for putting up today, if not in bottles but in Mason Jars.

Image: Damsel dispensing the finished limoncello from the big brewing container to a mason jar. Click on the image to enlarge.

I don’t have any photos of this year’s lemon harvest in late November, but it was certainly as large as the haul we made in the lemon harvest of 2015. Our little dwarf lemon tree has reliably produced since we put it in the “Orchard” in 2011.

From Wikipedia:

Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy. In northern Italy, the liqueur is often referred to instead as limoncino. It is also a popular homemade liqueur, with various recipes available online and in print.

Although there is debate about the exact origin of the drink, it is at least one hundred years old

Visitors to our humble abode are usually given one or two bottles or jars of our brew. We also carry some with us when we’re on the road in the motorhome to give to friends and acquaintances. Sorry, we can’t ship it since it’s against USPS rules and other carriers don’t want it either. You will just have to come and get it or wait until we drive by for a visit.

Lemon Harvest Coming Soon

The Lemon Tree with HUNDREDS of Lemons needing to be picked

Our Lemon tree (probably the “Lisbon” lemon variety) is nearing that time of year when we need to start harvesting the fruit. This year, the lemon crop appears to be much larger than in previous years (we have had this tree since 2012) and we may have to invest several days harvesting an estimated one thousand lemons. Last year, we filled the wheelbarrow twice with an estimated total of 600 lemons. There are many more than that on the tree now.

As we begin the lemon picking, we will be doing the usual thing with them, that is, giving them away to neighbors, the food bank, the senior center and anyone else that we can convince to take a bag home. Of course, we will reserve some for our annual Limoncello production.

We still have a little time before any frosty weather happens; the forecast for Thanksgiving week should be highs in the low 70’s and lows well above freezing. That’s still cool enough to layer up on the clothing, but will be OK for this variety of frost-tolerant lemons for the time being.

Our plan for Thanksgiving dinner is going to be similar to the past couple of years when we had a Keto-friendly menu featuring some of Damsel’s homemade goodies. We’re looking forward to the dinner, but more on that in a later post.

Winter Lemon Crop

Knowing that there was to be freezing temperatures overnight, Damsel and I decided to start picking the ripe lemons from our “orchard” yesterday – yes, we did it on New Year’s Day. We picked about an estimated three hundred of them before we knocked off for the rest of the day.

We stored the lemons in the wheelbarrow (image above – click to enlarge) in the garage overnight due to the probable freezing temperatures, but, as it turned out, the low was just about exactly the freezing point which wouldn’t have damaged the lemons. The forecast was for a “hard” freeze but the only effects were to freeze the top layer of water in the birdbaths and in the rain bucket. Dogs water dish under cover in the patio and in their wading pool did not freeze.

Despite having picked a couple gross of lemons from the tree, there are dozens more to pick (image below). I checked on the unpicked lemons this morning and none appeared to be damaged, which is a good thing. We plan on using many of the lemons for our annual batch of Limoncello and give the rest away to neighbors and the local food bank.

Since there are a lot of lemons still to be picked, we will probably not get to that until later this week. I have a couple of appointments, one for lab work and another with the dermatologist for my usual skin problems, but we will likely be able to work around those and get the pickin’ into our routine.

Visitors to our humble abode are likely to be presented with a complimentary bottle of our custom Limoncello.

Sometimes, Life Gives You Lemons

Dwarf Lemon Tree Harvested Lemons

Late last week, the Damsel and I picked most of the lemons from our dwarf lemon tree west of the house by the RV Drive. For a “dwarf” tree, I’d say, it has reliably produced a large number of lemons each year since we had it planted seven or eight years ago.

We normally give some of the lemons to neighbors and a couple of senior centers here in town, and use the rest of them to produce Limoncello, an Italian “digestivo” after dinner liquor. Damsel uses a recipe form an on-line website modified to use diabetic sweetener rather than sugar. We can’t tell the difference in the end.

This year, however, we have a surplus of both lemons and Limoncello, so we’re going to give most of the crop away and juice some for another couple of uses. We don’t have any trouble finding friends, neighbors and food banks locally to dispose of them for good uses.

Just for a lark, I put together the little graphic below to leverage on an old adage about life giving you lemons . . .

Make Limoncello

Click on any image above to enlarge.

Lemon Harvest

Lemon Harvest

It has been quite cool here for the past several nights. We actually found some ice topping one of the rain barrels this morning. It was then that we decided to harvest the lemons from our little lemon tree. The tree will be covered afterward to prevent any frost damage.

This harvest was a bit smaller than last year, but there are plenty of lemons to provide for our needs as well as for giving away to one of the senior care centers. One of the ladies on the staff makes lemon pies from scratch, so they appreciate them.

As for us, we will be skinning a bunch of lemons for Limoncello, and freezing “juice cubes” to be used as needed for cooking this coming year. Click on the image to enlarge.

Lemon Blossoms

Lemon Blossom

It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were harvesting lemons from our little tree by the RV drive, but now the lemon production cycle is already starting again. I took this photo of one of the fragrant blossoms being pollinated by a honey bee today. Click on the image to enlarge.

We had intended, and still intend, to trim much of the tree back to eliminate some of the dead branches and suckers low on the trunk and in the ground. If we happen to lop off a few blossoms in the process, it probably won’t make that much difference in the yield this fall. We had way more lemons than we could use last season and gave a lot of them away.

Of course, we will be making more Limoncello and freezing lemon juice in ice cube trays* to keep until needed for cooking, etc. We’re looking forward to our next lemon harvest.

* Freeze the juice in trays, pop the cubes into a bag and keep in the freezer until you need some juice, then take out only what you need, keeping the rest frozen.