Last summer I started making a lemon simple syrup to put in my iced tea- it adds sweetness and zing, without having to cut up lemons every time. Easy to make, and keeps a long time in the fridge. This winter I did it with Meyer lemons and it had an amazing fragrance to it. However, Meyer lemon season is over, and my pint of syrup is gone, so it’s time for another batch. This could conceivably be used on desserts or pancakes as well, but around here, we just use it for tea.
I use a microplane grater to get the zest, which is just the yellow part, of the lemon. I love this tool- it was originally designed for woodworking, but it works great as a very fine, very sharp grater. I use it for parmesan cheese, raw ginger and zest. When I was cleaning off the top of the fridge, I discovered one that I got a few years ago as a premium for subscribing to Cook’s Illustrated. The best comment on this post before Wednesday 3/9 will receive it as a prize. Tell me why you need a microplane grater, why you deserve it, why you want one… Remember, I’m an English teacher – answers written in poetry might get bonus points.
Lemon Simple Syrup
zest from 3 lemons
juice from 3 lemons, plus enough water to make 1 cup
1 cup granulated sugar.
The most onerous task is zesting the lemons. I have a microplane zester, which I highly recommend, but I can’t stand it when recipes require some tool which hardly anyone has. If you don’t win the zester, use a grater, or even a potato peeler. Be careful not to get the white part of the peel, it will make it bitter.
Mix the juice, water, zest and sugar in a pan and boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Allow to simmer a few minutes, cool for a few minutes, then pour through a fine mesh strainer. I pour it into a pyrex measuring cup, then into a bottle with a pourer. I store it in the fridge, although I don’t know how fast it would go bad on the counter…I wonder about doing this with other flavors- what about chai? or raspberry? The simple part means that it is an equal ratio- 1 part sugar and 1 part liquid, so it could theoretically be any flavorful liquid…I may have to experiment.