When Winter Gives You Lemons . . . Make Lemon Curd
Lemons don’t grow in Vermont in the winter – or any other time of the year.
Not much grows in Vermont during the winter – not when they’re cold and snowy. Sure, there’s a traditional and mostly predictable January thaw, but it’s usually followed by sun-blinding fields of snow, blue skies and good skiing.
Not this year.
This year, it’s the weather that’s delivered the metaphorical lemons: good snowfalls ruined by saturating rain were bad enough, but the last few days have brought something even worse: Heat.
Yesterday, the thermometer approached 60 degrees; today the temperature’s pushing 70. The snow’s melting, the ground thawing, the birds active.
I like the birds. I even like the melt and the thaw in season – at the end of March.
When The World Gives You Lemons . . .
On Sunday, we made metaphoric lemonade. Taking advantage of a few inches of fresh snow and temperatures around freezing, we whistled up the dog and headed out for some backcountry skiing in the Green Mountain National Forest. We had a grand day of winter fun breaking trail, working up a sweat in the cold, joyfully outdoors in the austere winter woods.
When Lemons Arrive in the Mail . . .
But gray rain closed in on Monday, washing away what little color winter offers. Thankfully, I received a box of lemons in in the mail.
They came from my brother who lives in California, where lemon trees grow along the sidewalk – and in my brother’s in-laws’ back yard, just south of San Francisco.
These are Meyer lemons, a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange, making them sweeter and juicer than the ordinary kind. I added them to the platter of clementines in the center of the dining room table. Clemintines, it turns out, are cross between an orange and a mandarin. These citrus cousins punctuated
the gray with their bright color, and their tangy aroma filled the room.
Outside, rain rinsed away the possibility of local, weekday, winter play. I sighed, despondent at another February day ruined by rain. Then I inhaled a whiff of bright citrus.
With just a few keystrokes, I found Molly O’Neill’s recipe for Lemon Curd. Ten minutes later, it was chilling in the fridge while a yellow cake from the freezer defrosted.
It’s not the same as frolicking in good winter weather, but when winter’s a lemon, lemon curd will do.