With an increasing number of people growing their own food, and shopping at farmers’markets, there is a growing demand for information on extending the life of your fruits. Put ‘em Up! Fruit (Storey Publishing, 2013) by Sherri Brooks Vinton is full of ways to store and use extra fruit. In the following excerpt, find a great-tasting Limoncello recipe that can be served on the rocks or used to make a Lemon Pepper Martini recipe, which is also featured below.
You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living store: Put ‘em Up! Fruit.
Alon Shaya, of Domenica Restaurant in New Orleans, told me about this technique for making limoncello. Unlike the common infusion made by steeping lemon peels in neutral spirits, this method uses alcohol evaporation to gently coax the lemon oil and juice from the fruit. Though the process is a bit more time consuming, the result is complex and nuanced—and thoroughly addictive! You can serve it chilled, over ice, or cut with an equal measure of seltzer—light and lemony but lethal.
• 2 pounds lemons (about 8 to 10)
• 1 (1.5 liters) bottle grain alcohol, such as Everclear
• 4 cups sugar
• 2 cups water
1. Using a vegetable brush, scrub the fruit with a nontoxic, odorless dish soap and hot water.
2. Thoroughly wash a 5-gallon glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Rinse out the jar with about 1/4 cup of the alcohol. Pour the rest of the alcohol in the jar.
3. Place the lemons in the center of a single layer of cheesecloth. Bundle the cloth around the lemons and tie the bundle as close to the fruit as possible with a narrow strip of cheesecloth. Suspend the bundled and tied fruit inside the jar, allowing the loose cloth from the bundle to dangle over the top of the jar. Use a rubber band to secure the loose fabric around the neck of the jar. Cover the jar with the lid, making sure to create an airtight seal. Set the jar aside where it will be undisturbed for 4 to 6 months.
4. The alcohol from the liquor will evaporate and condense on the fruit, releasing the fruit’s oils and juices, which will drip down into the liquor at the bottom of the jar. The process is complete when the lemons surrender their color and flavor to the liquor—the fruit will be pale and the liquid will be vibrant.
5. When the lemon liqueur is ready, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let cool to room temperature and then add to the lemon liqueur. Decant into small bottles and allow to cure for at least 2 weeks.
6. The liqueur will keep in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Makes about 2 quarts.
More Recipes from Put ‘em Up! Fruit
Excerpted from Put ‘em Up! Fruit: A Preserving Guide and Cookbook © Sherri Brooks Vinton, photography © Jennifer May Photography, Inc. used with permission from Storey Publishing. Buy this book from our store: Put 'em Up! Fruit.