One of the many benefits of living in California is the citrus!!!! Because of this I have a collections of dwarf citrus trees in my front yard. I have several Meyer lemon trees because they are my favorite. Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and mandarin or orange. They are sweeter than your average lemon and have a thinner skin. One of my favorite things to do with these lemons is make lemonade.
Lemonade in my AgHag chalice.
6 to 7 Meyer lemons (about one cup of juice, although I prefer one cup running over)
3/4 cup vanilla sugar*
5 cups water, divided
This smells like sunshine.
Bring one cup of water and sugar to a boil to make a simple syrup. Remove from heat and cool. Squeeze lemons, making sure to remove the seeds.
Add cooled simple syrup, lemon juice, and water into a pitcher and mix well. Serve over ice and with a lemon slice.
*Vanilla sugar is just sugar that I keep in a jar with a few gutted vanilla beans. It’s lovely for pastries, drinks and baked goods. It has a slight vanilla flavor that really compliments most things. You could add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the lemonade if you are using plain sugar. But I highly recommend getting a jar of vanilla sugar going for your pantry.
My favorite plant center, The Plant Barn, brought these awesome little nuggets called Mexican Sour Gherkins or Mouse Melons, to my attention last summer. Of course it was too late to plant them, so I had to wait almost a whole year before I could finally get my dirty little hands on the seeds!
These, my friends, are Mexican Sour Gherkins!
Much to my unadulterated joy, I was able to both buy seeds and buy the started plant at The Plant Barn. I’m going to tell you a secret. I am a horrible seed starter! When given the chance to buy a plant or start a plant from seed, I’ll buy the plant every time, I don’t care if it is more expensive, they freakin’ live!
The plant likes to have a trellis to grow up.
I did actually manage to start several plants from seed! They took longer to start growing and producing compared to your normal garden cucumber, but they make up for it because they are unique! They look little like baby watermelons! It’s fun to give them to kids, it blows their little minds (oh they blew mine too, who am I kidding?).
The plant is fairly prolific, I can pick a handful to munch on, fairly quickly.
These “melons” do taste like cucumbers you are used to, but just a whisper sour. I haven’t had enough to make bread and butter pickles, but I hear they are delicious that way. I’ve been enjoying them alone, but my favorite is sliced in half and on a salad! They add a surprising little kick!
If you get the chance to grow these little guys, I highly recommend them! It’s always fun to get some new and exciting things in your garden and they have been a great treat for Silly the teacup pig!