Lemons, Lemons, Everywhere; or How I Spent the Long Weekend

Despite the long holiday weekend, not a stitch was knit at La Casa de Weasel. And not an inch was spun.

Crazy, I know. But other interests took predecent and much was accomplished, despite the lack of fibery progress.

Saturday morning was spent on the hunt for organic lemons.

Success! Twenty organic lemons in my handknit market bag
It took two stores to find organic lemons, and only one stop to get the 100-proof vodka needed to start making my own limoncello.
 
(Sidebar: You’ll note the actual knitting content I managed to sneak into an otherwise unrelated post. I know…that takes talent. This is another Everlasting Bagstopper, without the knit handles, and it’s a fab bag for fresh produce.)
Why, hello there, Smirnoff…
Making limoncello isn’t exactly difficult, persay, but it’s time consuming and fraught with byproducts. You only use the lemon zest and, in that, you only use the yellow part of the zest. The yellow is full of lemon oil and deliciousness; the white is full of bitter ick that ruins your limoncello.
So, first I washed all the lemons to make sure the peels were nice and clean…
Clean little lemons
…and then I made with the zesting.
Fresh ribbons of zest
Carefully zesting 18 of the 20 lemons was kind of torture. My right wrist, which is a problematic joint for me, was really not happy by the time lemon No. 18 rolled around. But I got the job done.
A bowl of shamelessly nekkid lemons
Combine the peelings with the vodka and step one of homemade limoncello is done.
I’ll be delicious someday…
After a month of sitting around, accompanied by twice-daily stirrings, I’ll strain the peels, mix in some simple syrup and let it sit a few weeks more. Then…limoncello!
 
I even went all-out and etched all my own glass bottles for future bottling of said limoncello. If you ever want a new hobby that’s really pretty simple to do but ultimately impressive to the uninitiated, glass etching totally fits the bill.
A case of swing-tops, ready to package some limoncello
Glass bottles are pretty inexpensive when purchased from a wholesaler, so I got a full case of swing-top bottles that seal really tightly and will be reusable. I used a few different designs in my etchings, so the bottles are all pretty unique. This one’s my favorite.
It etched so nicely!
I love the swirly little vines encircling the bottle!
 
On Saturday night, the girls and I grabbed dinner at the Polish restaurant up the street from my house. Kilbasa and potato pancakes…delish! Then we grabbed a movie (Sex and the City 2…it was terrible, don’t waste your money) and called it a night.
 
On Sunday morning, I had happy-birthday-breakfast with my Lil’ Bro, who turned 22 (!) this week, then paid a visit to JoAnn’s for no particular reason. Picked up some more T-pins for blocking and some new fat quarters, since they were on sale.
 
I did a little sewing during the day. And Sunday afternoon was my city’s Memorial Day parade, which makes it’s way down my street, right in front of my house…very convenient. It was Madori’s first parade experience, and she did well…up until the musket fire.  
Loud guns is not nice! I has a scared. No like it, Momma!
She did *not* like that at all.
 
On Monday, Madori and I picked up Allison and the three of us went a few towns over to hike a mountain.
The view from the top of Talcott Mountain. So pretty…
I’m in terrible shape, but somehow I managed to make it up the mountain, though we had to stop a few times. Madori was a real trooper. Her little legs brought her all the way up, and all the way back down.
At the top of the mountain…taking a break in the shade…
She had a blast. And she slept all afternoon. It was fantastic.
 
Especially since I decided to make use of some of those nekkid lemons I have lying around.
Lemon pie with the now infamous 12-minute meringue
Too bad I don’t really like to eat meringue pies, because I really seem to have a knack for making them lately.
Now I just have to figure out what to do with the 16 remaining lemons in my refrigerator. Braided lemon bread, anyone? 
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12 thoughts on “Lemons, Lemons, Everywhere; or How I Spent the Long Weekend

  1. tgulling says:

    Really? Sex in the City was that bad? Everyone loved the first one. I really can’t comment. I was never a fan of the shoe nor did I see the first movie.

    • weaselmomma says:

      Yeah, I loved the show and thought the first movie was good, so this one was a total disappointment for me. Really didn’t like it.

  2. kateohkatie says:

    I love this post! Such a happy, fun weekend 🙂 The limoncello looks AMAZING too!

    I’ll be making the braided lemon bread this weekend – I bought a jar of lemon curd last time I was at Trader Joe’s, and have used it in a blackberry lemon cake (just dallops of curd in with the whole blackberries), and stirred some into a blueberry crisp – but I still have about half a jar left!

    Also, next time I’m gonna make my own. ❤ fresh lemons! 🙂

    • weaselmomma says:

      It was a really great weekend 🙂

      I’m going to have to experiment more with lemon curd, I think. I actually used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe to make some this week (in advance of the bread) and it was pretty easy, just a lot of whisking.

  3. kazkitty says:

    That pie looks amaaaaaaaazing!

  4. Allison says:

    HAHAH nekid lemons.

    Where’s my pie? or bread? or curd? I love lemons.

    • weaselmomma says:

      Mark ate half the pie; other coworkers ate the rest. I’ll make you one before you leave.

      Breadmaking…maybe tomorrow after work.

      Curd…chillin in the fridge 🙂

  5. […] it’s officially been a month since I started the limoncello, which means it’s officially time for straining and simple-syrup and, in a few more weeks, […]

  6. JJ says:

    I have been talking about making limoncello for years, and this post totally inspired me to do it. I zested 26 lemons for 1.75L, and I’m thinking I will need to get more vodka if you did 18 lemons for 1.5L. How much volume did you end up with in the end?

    The wait is killing me. I keep looking at the mixture, willing it to get more yellow and lemony.

    • weaselmomma says:

      Yay limoncello!!! I’m so glad I could offer a little inspiration 🙂

      Yeah, I’d definitely say you need more vodka there. Out of my first 1.5L batch, I was able to fill 11 250 mL bottles of finished limoncello. It went way farther than I expected it to.

      Also, I used 100 proof for Batch 1 and Batch 2, and it came out really strong. Delicious, and a little bit goes a long way, but it’s pretty serious stuff—very good mixed in things, but a little tough to just sip on the rocks.

      For any future batches, I think I’m going to use 80 proof.

      And it’ll get nice and yellow, no worries. When I strained the peels after a month, they were completely white. All that lovely lemon oil was left in the vodka. 🙂

      • JJ says:

        Oh, good. I used 80 proof and was getting a little worried that I should have used 100 proof. Apparently, one cannot buy Everclear in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Perhaps I will get another 750ml bottle and just a couple more lemons.

        I was going to get bottles from Ikea, but I may look for a wholesaler instead. I assumed I was going to get about 2L of limoncello, but looks like I’ll likely be getting a little more than 3L.

      • weaselmomma says:

        I actually went through Specialty Bottle for my first case, and I was pretty happy with how it went, so I plan to order from then again.

        http://www.specialtybottle.com/

        I went with the swingtops last time, but might mix it up for my second time around.

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