Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Homemade Limoncello and Eighteen Bald Lemons

Flashback to September of 2007. Unpasteurized apple cider aplenty at the farmer's market and me with too much time on my hands. The idea dawned on me to make my own hard apple cider. Why on earth did I want to make 5 gallons of hard cider? I don't drink very often and I don't particularly like carbonated alcohol (beer etc). None the less, I set to work in the cold dark basement of my friends' house and 2 months later I was rewarded with just over 50 bottles of nothing-special hard cider. The next time I want a bottle of hard cider I'm sticking to Woodchuck. Lesson learned - or so I thought.

I thought I was done with my little foray into making alcohol but then pictures and stories of homemade limoncello began popping up all over my google reader. The seed was planted and I began some casual research into the idea. I read about it, thought about it, mulled over some prices, and looked into the availability of Everclear in NYS (none). It turns out it would be cheaper and more readily available to just buy a bottle of limoncello at the liquor store - but what fun is that? It was too late, I decided to make my own.

Since you can't buy Everclear in New York I bought a bottle of Devil Springs Vodka. It's the highest proof (160) legal in the state and I can understand why. Just smelling it burned my nose a bit.

I spent the better part of an hour peeling lemons and Max helped me scrape the pith (white part) off of the skins. It was a slightly time consuming process but the pith absolutely must come off or your final product will be bitter and unpleasant.

All those lovely bright peals went into a liter and a half mason jar with 750ml of grain alcohol where they will remain sealed for the next 8 weeks or until the peels are no longer yellow. At that point I'll mix in some simple syrup and let it sit for another week. After that is through a strainer and into the freezer, ready to be enjoyed in the warm spring air.

Now what to do with eighteen bald lemons.
Get your juicers ready, I see a plethora of lemon recipes in the near future.


  1. oh. my. limoncello is a great dessert drink. so good.

  2. lisa, i have to ask...where are you getting all these jars??

  3. Megan- do you mean where can you buy them? If so they are just ball jars you can get them in most supermarkets or some general stores. they're typically used for canning but can also be frozen or boiled in water (ex: for canning). If you are wondering why I have so many of them, I've gathered them over the past couple years from marmalades and things that my mom made and gave me. i've also bought a 12-pack or two. They last FOREVER and I store literally everything in them. seriously the best most versatile investment for your kitchen..and pyrex of course. :)


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