When life gives you lemons

California is known for growing oranges, so you would think it would be an ideal place to grow lemons–I’m not so sure. In my experience, lemon trees are quite stubborn in their desire to die in my care. Mom and I tried growing them in a pot and in a ground outdoors. They died. Later I saw an article in Martha Stewart’s magazine about growing dwarf citrus trees indoor, and got one for my dorm room. That tree was happy and healthy, produced a handful of lemons, and starred in a couple of watercolor paintings. Then it died, too–at least I didn’t have to fit it in the car home when I graduated. I’m not easily deterred, however, so this year I’m trying for homegrown lemons once more. Boyfriend’s dorm room has a balcony, which was badly in need of decoration (and a good broom) at the beginning of the school year, so my friend S. and I tracked down a new lemon tree to nurture. When I told Boyfriend that I hoped the tree would make some lemons (no flowers yet), he reminded me of my history with citrus fruits and replied that he was just aiming for it to stay alive. So far, so good.

When S. and I went to the store to buy the not-yet-dead lemon tree, we realized there are far more lemon varieties than a trip to the grocery store would imply, something that occurred to me once more at the farmers’ market at the San Francisco Ferry Building today. Boyfriend got a simple dwarf Meyer lemon, but there are plenty of choices. Some are sour, some are bitter, some have oily skin, and some are pink–and as the astonishingly wonky (but from what I understand, generically flavored) Buddha’s hand lemon demonstrates, some appear to be reaching towards you. Without further ado, I present to you, the very many varieties of lemon:

There’s the standard grocery store Eureka lemon and the potentially creepy Buddha’s hand lemon

The baked lemon and the powdered lemon
1. Lemon Tart Illustration by Monika Roe for They Draw and Cook
2. 1854 Hierbas Y Especias Limon en Polvo

The drinkable lemon
1. Pink Lemonade Art Print by Sevenstars Treassurebox
2. Limoncello Italy Print by Anek

The well-advised lemon
1. When Life Gives You Lemons Print by Betty Turbo

The out-of-season summer lemon and the in-season winter lemon
1. Sour Cherry Soup Print by Claudia Pearson
2. Winter Fruits Poster by Lucile’s Kitchen

4 Responses to “When life gives you lemons”
  1. Good luck with your lemon tree!

  2. Gardner's World says:

    Sounds like you have a good farmers’ market. This time of year, with fresh cranberries in season, adding grated lemon rind makes great cranberry muffins. Mmmm!

    • Kate says:

      Mmm, our farmers’ market doesn’t have fresh cranberries, I assume we’re not in the right climate for that, but it sounds delicious!

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