Lemons Galore!

By cjohnson | November 26, 2005 12:53 pm

meyer lemons galore!The garden is in a transitional phase right now, so not much to report….

….except for meyer lemons! Lots and lots of them on the tree I planted earlier this year. They’re going more and more golden coloured every day.

What will I do with all these lemons? Well, among other things, I see lemon-themed baking in my future. Mmmm…..


  • Moshe


    And if you want to feel Israeli (and why wouldn’t you?) drop a few leaves of mint in it.

  • citrine

    When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/clifford/ Clifford

    Yes… But this proverb always assumes that life also gave one some sugar or honey, which is not always the case…. :-)


  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/clifford/ Clifford


    I have three (maybe four) different types of mint growing in the garden, and so can happily indulge those moments when I want to feel Israeli….


  • Moshe

    It is pretty funny, you are not sure exactly how many types of mint you have? you are aware I hope of the tendency of mint to take over gardens…

  • citrine


    At least water is free and let’s not forget the variants of sugar – Splenda and its ilk. Otherwise you may proudly call the concoction “Sugar-Free Lemonade”. :)

    I know I’m veering strangely off-topic here but please hear me out. I don’t remember any Cosmic Variance posts on IQ s. I’d love to see what you guys – who have an abundance of the attribute – think about this topic.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/clifford/ Clifford

    Hi citrine,


    My quick response on IQ is that I tend to stay away from the whole thing. I don’t think that I have an abundance of it…. I place more stock in hard work, love of and dedication to what one does than to any sort of innate ability. Also, frankly, I’ve seen things like IQ used more often to exclude people than to include them and so that strikes me as something I should stay away from for that reason alone.

    That’s my very subjective take on the matter…. My colleagues might have more to say….probably being more informed about it’s status, and the latest research in the area…..


  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/clifford/ Clifford

    Moshe….yes…. they do take over…. I’ve confined most of them in pots. But there is one patch growing wild. I did have four varieties, but I am not sure if one of them (which got fried in a pot over the summer due to heat – and not being on the drip system) is going to regrow….watching it.


  • janet

    Meyer lemon makes wonderful sorbet or granita. Lemon curd, candied lemon peel, lemon tart. I have a recipe somewhere for Meyer lemon & thyme marmalade.

    The ones on our tree are all still green…..

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/clifford/ Clifford

    Yes….. lemon tart is one of my thoughts… but the meyer lemon and thyme marmalade! thyme!? sounds like a wonderful combination…. how much can I bribe you to give me that recipe Janet?


  • http://1034:Incorrectkeyfilefortableusers;trytorepairit sisyphus

    Clifford: I.Q. – very interesting. Why don’t you kick it off with a new post. Lapsed Mensan myself. Doubt that I could qualify any more.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/joanne/ JoAnne


    I basically agree with Clifford on the IQ thing. I am snobby enough to say that some minimum IQ is, well, helpful in becoming a scientist. But that minimum amount may not be as high as you would think. Hard work, drive, energy, and passion for what you do, can take a person a very long ways – often times much further than another person who is certified genius, but lacks the other qualities. The person who is a genius and works hard with drive & energy & passion – now that’s rare….

  • http://www.amara.com Amara

    You’re aware that the Greeks use lemon generously in their recipes? Here I give one Greek recipe with lemon, and something that you can make with it, that goes well together. (from a friend of mine and a Greek cookbook: Vefa Alexaiadou: _Greek Cuisine_, 1999).

    Egg-Lemon Sauce
    (Saltsa Avgolemono)

    Preparation time 5 minutes

    1-2 eggs
    juice from 1 or 2 lemons
    broth from soup or other food

    Lightly beat the eggs, in a bowl, then add the lemon juice, a little at a time, beating continuously. Gradually add some of the broth into into the egg-lemon mixture, beating all the time. Add the egg-lemon sauce to your soup or hot-cooked meal, stirring well or shaking the pot to spread the sauce all over.


    Rice-Stuffed Vine Leaves
    (Dolmadakia Yialantzi)

    Serves 8
    Preparation time: 2 hours
    Cooking Time: 30 minutes

    1 lb fresh or preserved vine leaves
    1 lb short grain rice
    3 cups finely chopped spring onions
    2 cups chopped onion
    1 cup chopped parsley
    1 cup chopped fresh dill
    2 cups olive oil
    salt and pepper
    1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
    1/4 cup currants (optional)
    2 1/2 cups boiling water
    1/3 cup lemon juice

    Wash the vine leaves and trim off the stems. Blanch them, a few at a time, in boiling water. Drain and let them cool. Blanch preserved vine leaves the same way. Put the onions in a strainer, sprinkle with a little salt rub. Rinse with a little water. Squeeze out the water, by pressing in between palms. Mix the rice with the onions, herbs, half the oil, seasoning to taste, pine nuts and currants (if used). Lay the vine leaves one by one on a flat surface, (the shiny side down). Put about one tablespoon of the rice mixture in the middle of a leaf, fold the sides over and roll it up into a neat parcel. Continue stuffing the vine leaves in this way, until all the filling is used. You should have a few leaves left over. Cover the base of a large heavy based pan or flameproof casserole with unfilled vine leaves. Arrange the suffed vine leaves on top packing them in, folded side down, in more than one layer if necessary. At this stage the dish can be frozen. If frozen, defrost before cooking. Pour on the remaining oil, boiling water, and lemon juice. ut a heavy plate upside down on the top of the stuffed vine leaves, to keep them in shape while cooking. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 35-40 minutes. Let them cool in the pan placing a thick piece of absorbent paper toweling between the pan and the lid to absorb the steam. Transfer to a plate. Serve with Tzatzike or lemon sauce. Delicious also if served cold the next day.

    BTW, if you are interested to see a variety of lemons that are large as melons, head down to South Italy. See the 4th pic down on http://lxtosh.ifsi.rm.cnr.it/SZ/capri2004/capri.html (a page for “The Saturn Universe” Cassini workshop October 2004).

  • http://1034:Incorrectkeyfilefortableusers;trytorepairit sisyphus

    I.Q. is a political hot potato; I suppose we really should approach it in a gingerly fashion.

    Not a scientist myself, but considering that the areas in which physicists would have to be strong – math, verbal reasoning, visual-spatial.. a physicist would have it made in the majority of areas tested in commonly used I.Q. tests; I should think a professor of physicts would be almost certain to have a very high I.Q.

    Clifford and JoAnne downplay the importance of I.Q. – and some people who inherit fortunes downplay the importance of money. ( hope I didn’t make 2 enemies with that crack, but I think it’s valid )

    Of course, there’s much more involved in success than raw talent, but if you’re not born with a high percentage of fast-twitch muscle you’ll never make it in the majors.

    Having said all that.. I watched a CNN special on I.Q. recently; the man with the highest I.Q. in the U.S. (236) is a bouncer whose only ambition is to develop 21-inch biceps without using steroids.

  • janet

    No need for a bribe, Clifford. Actually, I’m glad to be motivated to dig around among my cookbooks and find the recipe. This is paraphrased from a recipe by Rochelle Foles, who made it for the annual San Francisco Bay Area “Chowhound” picnic in 2003.

    8 Meyer lemons
    6 cups water
    5 cups sugar
    2 Tbs. thyme leaves.

    Wash and dry the lemons. Cut them around their fat little middles and carefully extract the seeds. Set the seeds aside. Cut the lemon halves again, this time lengthwise so you have a flat surface. Place the flat side on the cutting board and slice the lemons as thinly as possible (use a mandolin if you have one).

    Place the lemons and the water in a pan, cover, and let sit overnight. (Note: This is the pan you’ll use for cooking the marmalade. We got better results with a Le Crueset ceramic-coated pan than with a stainless steel pan.)

    In the morning, tie the reserved seeds in a piece of cheesecloth. Add them to the lemons, along with the sugar. Heat the mixture to 220 degrees (this may take some time). Cook until it reduces by 1/3 to 1/2 and reaches the jellying point.

    To check that the mixutre is jelling: Place a small plate in the freezer. When the plate is cold, place about a teaspoon of the mixture on the plate and put it back in the freezer for 10 minutes. If it ripples and is thick when you take it out, it’s jellied.

    Add the thyme and cook for another 5 minutes to allow the flavors to come together. Remove the cloth package of seeds.

    Meanwhile, prepare your canning jars by sterilizing them. (See a general reference cookbook such as The Joy of Cooking for sterilizing instructions.) Jars should be hot when you fill them — don’t forget to use tongs to handle them. After filling, put them in a water bath and boil for 10 minutes. Remove and listen for the “pop” as each jar seals. Any jars that don’t seal can still be used, but keep them refrigerated and use them sooner rather than later.

  • janet

    I think there are two basic questions to ask about IQ: first, is there any such thing as “general intelligence,” and second, if so, do IQ tests measure that quality? I strongly doubt the first, and given that, the second question is pretty much moot.

    “Intelligence” can involve many qualities, and these qualities tend to assert themselves in different ways and at different times of life. Mathematical and musical abilities are famous for showing up early, but the kinds of intellectual qualities that make a great historian or a great diplomat develop later and more slowly. Some people have lousy memories for detail, but a great ability to dig deep into the heart of a problem and see it in a new way. The people who win on Jeopardy rarely seem to be deep intellects; what they have is the ability a) to perform under pressure, and b) to quickly and accurately retrieve information. A great surgeon needs physical stamina as well as dexterity and the knowledge of anatomy and physiology. I could go on and on, but you get the idea: a person can have some qualities that we identify with “intelligence,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are “intelligent” in general, or suited for any type of intellectual activity.

    I agree with Clifford and Joanne that hard work and dedication are key traits for scientists, but I would also say that these are mental abilities. Not everybody has the ability to concentrate in the way that scientists have to; most people get bored or tired and lose interest. That’s not just a personality or character trait, but a quality of the mind. I tend to be “quick,” and I marvel at my husband’s ability to buckle down and work at a problem steadily over a period of weeks or months. It’s partly that he’s got more self-discipline than I do, but partly also that he’s able to carry his work over from day to day without getting distracted or sidetracked. On the other hand, of the two of us I’m probably the one you want to have around in case of a crisis, because I’m much better at making decisions and acting quickly.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/clifford/ Clifford

    Thanks janet (#15). I always like an excuse to break out the Le Crueset pans. Thanks also for the canning/bottling instructions, although having made lots of jams and other preserves in the past, I probably won’t need to open my copy of Joy for this outing.



  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/clifford/ Clifford

    Amara:- thanks for those!


  • http://1034:Incorrectkeyfilefortableusers;trytorepairit sisyphus

    Nice post, Janet, but hey – don’t get me wrong. I.Q. is just one of many elements in the stuff of intelligence. Nevertheless, if a person is stopped by the kinds of problems presented in stabdard I.Q. tests she/he is likely to have major problems grasping the abstruse concepts involved in quantum theory. Some of us are ‘slow and steady’ and are misrepresented by these timed tests that are over before the intellectual turtles get warmed up – and we all know of mental rabbits who have the philosophical depth of, well.. rabbits.

    In some circumstances though, I.Q. and special aptitudes tests have been proven to have high predictive value; considering what science professors do, I doubt that many science professors worth their NaCl don’t excel in the I.Q. dep’t.

  • janet

    Clifford — You’re welcome! I should have guessed you’d have canning experience (goes with the gardening). I also forgot to mention that the recipe makes about 1 quart, however you prefer to divide it up.

    Sisyphus — I think it’s true that IQ tests measure certain aspects of what we generally call “intelligence.” And I make judgements about people’s intelligence all the time, of course. What I would really like, though, is the ability to get into other people’s heads, to find out not what they think but how they think. Can you imagine what education would be like if we could do that?

  • http://1034:Incorrectkeyfilefortableusers;trytorepairit sisyphus

    Janet: Getting into another’s head would be like stepping into another universe. There is no way for any of us to truly communicate what we experience in the uniqueness of our private phenomenal worlds; we can use language to stimulate responses in others, but we can never know what is evoked in another’s mind. Even if direct brain-to-brain connection guaranteed a shared event, it wouldn’t guarantee a shared experience.

    Sorry if this seems a little non-sequitur. I’m not arguing with you; you just got me thinking.


  • INT

    I don’t think IQ matters that much. I mean, start doing those kind of tests regularly and you’ll see that your IQ rises. That doesn’t mean you are more inteligent than you were before, just that you get used to the type of questions they ask you and learn to answer them faster and better. I think that’s what happens in life in general, one learns to deal with the problems you encounter, and as you face the same problems over and over again you tend to optimize your response so that your results improve.

  • http://www.hauteplate.com/ Rochelle

    It was a wonder to find janet’s rendition of my award winning lemon thyme marmalade in such a place! we actually made and gave this out as gifts at our wedding it had drawn such raves. and it’s great both on toast and under the skin of chicken before it’s grilled or brushed over a pork roast.

    I’m delighted she found it an inspiration and hope you do as well.

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