When a friend gives you lemons. . .

Yup, that’s right, two posts in one evening after an extended absence. But there’s just so much to say, and frankly a lot of it doesn’t seem connected to anything else. Last time I lumped it all together, someone took me to task for being rambling and too wide-ranging. So I’ll split this up.

A long-time friend of ours (Ben’s known him since they were about 7 years old) came to visit for a week or so. We had a great time with Fritz. He lives in a slightly warmer climate, and he has a lemon tree in his yard that produces tons of lemons about nine months of the year. So he brought us a bunch.

Then Brenda took him home, and when she came back, she had a couple hundred more. Then she and Ralph left for several weeks.

As you might have gathered, I hate wasting stuff, so I started to try to figure out what I could do with all of these lemons. I now have 6 half pints of canned lemon juice and ten half pints of canned lemon curd that I’m praying didn’t get so hot in the canning process that the egg yolks got grainy. I’ll probably open one tomorrow just to see.

If canning it didn’t work, I’ll just get some more lemons from Fritz next time we see each other, and next time I’ll just can the juice. Then I can have lemon curd whenever I want.

If you’ve never had lemon curd, you don’t know what you’ve been missing. It’s tart and creamy like custard. It’s terrific for making tarts, or for spreading between the layers of a cake, or for spreading on hot scones or gingerbread or ginger cookies. It’s relatively easy to make. The only tricky part is the cooking temperature. Below 170 degrees it won’t set. Above 180 degrees (all temps Fahrenheit here) it gets grainy rather than smooth. The little fragments of egg yolk in it cook hard like the yolk of a hard-boiled egg.

The other issue was finding the right recipe. There are two kinds of lemons in this world, the really sour ones and the somewhat sweeter ones that we call “lemonade lemons.” Fritz’s lemons are lemonade lemons, and I had to do a couple of test batches adjusting various quantities of things to get the flavor I wanted. But I got it. Now if it just canned OK. It freezes wonderfully well, but it’s tough to have a freezer off the grid.

So, sinus headache and all, I’ve had a relatively busy couple of days. Plus I’m trying to plan and coordinate a “William Stafford birthday party” in January (if your’re not from Oregon, that may not mean much to you–it may not mean much even if you are, come to think of it). Suffice it to say that it’s a poetry celebration. If you really want to know more, go to www.williamstafford.org and click on “Events.”

I’m also trying to get ready to be gone for about 10 days in January. January’s going to be a very busy month. . .


4 Responses to “When a friend gives you lemons. . .”

  1. Philip Ferris Says:

    Glad to hear all is going well for you, sinus problems aside.

    Before I end this comment, for I have written only 1 Christmas card so far and will not get one to you in time, may I wish you the most special of holiday seasons and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

  2. ingernet Says:

    Dear Santa,

    I have been a very good girl this year, and I would like a jar of homemade canned lemon curd. And a Barbie Dream House.

    Please note the enormous plate of cookies and the bottle of scotch next to it.


  3. Marianne Says:

    Phil, I sent you a note provately, but the same wishes for you and your family.

    Best regards,

  4. Marianne Says:

    Inger, the lemon curd is no problem. I’ll save you a jar.

    But as to the Barbie Dream House (do they still sell those?), I am much too old to sit on the floor for hours punching out little plastic parts to assemble. Besides, I’ve already done that, so I’m afraid you’re on your own here.


    P.S. You can leave the scotch anyway. Who knows what might happen?

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