Sunday, April 5, 2009

Meyer Lemon

The graphical depiction of my childhood would be sunny and surreal, filled with dry thunderstorms, fires, floods, and ferocious fauna. It would also taste like lemons. You see, I grew up with a lemon tree in the backyard and, as a consequence, I ate a lot of lemons. Yes, ate, I ate them. In fact, I don't really recall drinking much of what is called lemonade in the US although I sucked plenty of juice out of raw lemons pulled off the tree. But in these circumstances where one experiences beautiful, fresh fruit straight from the plant, one also encounters the spoiled specimens. I was forever stepping on rotten lemons, feeling their brown, leathery exterior give way to the rancid juice inside. Naturally, being lemon-scented rot, the off-lemon doesn't smell as bad as most decaying vegetation but they don't smell very nice either. Our dogs would frequently attempt to eat the fallen lemons and then, as happened every time, vomit a yellow foam in the garden which you would also inevitably find yourself stepping in.

meyer lemon

As I sit here thinking about my past I realize that my mind categorizes lemons in a strange way. Having shared an intimate connection with this fruit I hold them in a sacred, high regard but, by that very same token, I completely take them for granted. I don't think I've ever bought a lemon and I don't feel I should have to buy them. Instead I should be able to walk into my backyard and pluck one from a tree. But alas, the tree is no more... chopped down a long time ago in a land far away.

lemon addition

My non-commercial pact with the lemon was slightly broken when I encountered the Meyer lemon at a local grocery store. The smooth skin and darker tone told me that this was no ordinary lemon which left me both intrigued and slightly affronted. It turns out that the Meyer lemon is a hybrid between a regular lemon and a mandarin, from which it gets its smooth skin and darker hue.

I typically don't do much research about the strange foods in this blog before I consume them so that can approach them with as little bias as possible (fortunately, I violated this self-imposed ignorance before tackling the Cherimoya and spared myself the inconvenience of paralysis or death). So it was out of character for me to do some reading about the Meyer lemon prior to consuming it because, despite my long history of raw lemon consumption, I didn't want to eat the whole thing and figured I could find a few interesting ideas to try.

meyer lemon cut

I hit jackpot when I found an online article from the Los Angeles Times boasting 100 things to do with a Meyer lemon. With so many to choose from, I figured I'd be set so I proceeded to photograph and dissect my specimin.

I had every intention of exploring some of the articles suggestions but after my first bite I abandoned all plans.

Yes, the fragrance was sweet and so was the taste but it was strangely sour as well. Strange because I don't mean a typical lemon sour; that tart, lip puckering taste we've all , but sour in a rotten way.

meyer lemon cut close

Memories of dead lemons and yellow dog vomit came flooding back. I forced another couple bites in a vain attempt to acclimate myself to the taste and then tipped the copious remains into the trash.

Despite the bad experience, my interest has been piqued about what other hybridized lemons are out there but this one won't be entering my shopping basket again.

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