1. Wash lemons and dry. Zest with a
microplane zester or peel and remove
pith (white part) as it will make your
Limoncello bitter. 2. In a large glass jar,
mix the lemon peels with the alcohol.
3. Seal jar and put in a cool, dry place
to steep for anywhere from 2 weeks to
3 months. 4. Unseal, and bring water
and sugar to a boil for 5 minutes. Let
cool completely. 5. Mix sugar syrup with
alcohol and lemon peels. 6. Return jar
to the cool, dry place and let the mixture
steep for another 2 weeks. 7. Strain the
mixture through a coffee filter. You can
repeat this process several times for a
very clear Limoncello or you leave it a bit
cloudy. Either way, it’ll taste great!
8. Store the Limoncello in the freezer and
Winter is the peak season for citrus fruit, but I live in the Northwestern United States
and can’t usually get it locally. But one winter I got lucky.
My friend Maggie is a farmer and at one point in her farming career she was
working in a private greenhouse outside of Boston. Apparently the greenhouse was
enormous—big enough to support full-grown citrus trees in the ground. In it, among
the other lush plants, was a bountiful Meyer lemon tree. Fortunately the tree’s owners
were generous and Maggie came to visit us for New Year’s Eve with a big bag of
It took some deciding to figure out what we were going to do with all those lemons.
We loved eating them fresh—in New Year’s Eve cocktails of course—or sautéed with
greens, or to make crispy garlicky lemon chicken. But there came a point where we
knew we couldn’t eat them all before they went bad.
When considering a lemon, people often overlook the peel, but that is where all
the gorgeous lemony oils reside. To take advantage of those Meyer lemon peels we
decided to make Limoncello. Limoncello is a traditional Italian liqueur—a semi-sweet
after dinner drink, usually served chilled. It takes some time to make but is a relatively
simple process. The lemony flavor is divine on its own or mixed into another cocktail.
So what did we do with all those peeled lemons? Well, you know what they say about
life: when it hands you lemons, make lemonade! Or even better—Limoncello.
When considering a
lemon, people often
overlook the peel,
but that is where all
the gorgeous lemony