Meyer lemons are not your average lemon. Why? Well for starters, they’re not just a lemon. There’s more to the story of this hidden hybrid fruit than you’d ever expect. Here’s 10 facts:
- Meyer lemons are actually a hybrid of a mandarin & a lemon.
- Though they’re sweeter than other lemons, they were only decorative for most of their history, and not eaten.
- A native to China, it was a popular ornamental plant for almost 100 years.
- The Meyer lemon was brought to the United States by an agricultural explorer who was appointed by the government to collect new plant species. Frank Meyer brought 2500 new plants to our country, and the Meyer lemon was named after him.
- It wasn’t until the 1970s that chefs began to use the Meyer lemon, and it grew in popularity, starting right here in California.
- The rind is thin and edible.
- The skin is delicate and thin, which makes for great cooking and baking, but not so much for mass production.
- Martha Stewart is credited with making the Meyer lemon more of a household name. Her recipes made it soar in popularity in the 1990s.
- In the 1940s, there was a virus that virtually wiped out all Meyer lemons in the US. But a new, virus-free selection was made in the 1970s, and is why we enjoy them today.
- While regular lemons are grown year round, Meyer lemons are typically around from December to May.
So add some to your recipes, Meyer lemons go well any way from salads, to grilled with your favorite protein, and of course desserts. Bonus: they’re on sale this week;) Buy some here.