When life gives you (Meyer) lemons, make lemon sugar

Need a quick, inexpensive and simple gift that the recipient is sure to love?

Whip up a batch of lemon sugar. It takes less than half an hour, start to finish, and makes an absolutely lovely gift that’s beautiful and useful. Assuming you can bring yourself to give it away…

We found a Meyer lemon tree on sale at Lowe’s this summer, and finally harvested the crop last week. We got about 20 of these tiny, heavenly smelling fruits, but I think we waited a bit too long to pick them and they were very ripe so we knew we needed to use them right away.

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I hopped on Pinterest and looked up ways to use Meyer lemons, and as usual, Pinterest didn’t disappoint. I found this blog post from Simple Bites with five amazing ways to use Meyer lemons, including the Lemon Sugar recipe.

As Aimee mentions in her post, if you can’t find Meyer lemons, regular lemons will do, but do try to find Meyer lemons.  They will make your sugar even more delicate and fragrant.

Use a microplane or grater to zest lemon peels into a bowl of sugar. There doesn’t seem to be an important ratio here; I used about four cups of sugar and five small Meyer lemons. Make sure you get as much zest from your lemons as you can, don’t let a bit of that beautiful yellow skin go to waste.

Mix and fold the lemon zest into the sugar with your hands. Get it nice and rubbed in, the idea is to get that lemon flavor and scent incorporated throughout all of the sugar.

Spread the mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet. I didn’t have any parchment paper, so I spread the sugar on a Silpat sheet on a cookie sheet. Bake at your oven’s lowest setting – mine was 170 – for about 10 minutes or until the moisture has evaporated.

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Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. The sugar will probably be a little gritty and clumpy. Use your fingers to break up the clumps and seal in airtight jars or containers.

Add a pretty swatch of fabric or a festive bow, and you’ve got a thoughtful, homemade gift (or a special treat for yourself)!

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As for the leftover lemon “meat,” I quartered the lemons, put them in a small Mason jar and covered them with vodka. In a few weeks, I’ll have Meyer lemon-infused booze. Waste not, want not!

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