Meyer Lemon Chiffon Cake
Lemon Cupcake Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"Lemon tree very pretty
And the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat."
~ Will Holt, from the Brazilian folk song, Meu limão, meu limoeiro
Meyer lemons are not impossible to eat, they are quite delightful! A former decorative houseplant and backyard ornamental, the Meyer lemon, is a sweeter and juicier cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. These lemons only became popular after being featured by chef Martha Stewart in her recipes: lemon-pine nut tart, whole-wheat spaghetti with arugula and pistachios, coffee cake with thinly sliced Meyer lemons in the batter. Prior to that, these lemons had not been popular with growers because their thin skin made them difficult to ship long distances.
Meyer Lemon Strathspey
The Meyer lemon is a citrus fruit native to China thought to be a cross between a true lemon and either a mandarin or common orange, which gives it is unique sweet taste.
It was introduced to the United States in 1908 by agricultural explorer Frank Nicholas Meyer, an employee of the United States Department of Agriculture, who collected a sample of the plant on a trip to China.
By the mid-1940s, the Meyer lemon had become widely grown in California. However, at that time it was discovered that a majority of the Meyer lemon trees being cloned were symptomless carriers of the Citrus tristeza virus, a virus which had killed millions of citrus trees all over the world and rendered other millions useless for production.
After this finding, most of the Meyer lemon trees in the United States were destroyed to save other citrus trees. But by the 1950s, a virus-free selection was found and later released in 1975 by the University of California as the "Improved Meyer Lemon."
Meyer lemons became popular as a food item in the United States after being popularized by chefs such as Alice Waters at Chez Panisse during the California Cuisine revolution at the end of the 1990s. Popularity further climbed when Martha Stewart began featuring them in her recipes.
For a Meyer Lemon Blueberry Cupcake recipe, click the picture! Or for the Meyer Lemon Chiffon Cake at the top of the page, click here.