Meyer lemons easily differentiate themselves from a common lemon with their smaller size, smoother, thinner rind and less pronounced mammilla. They are more round than ovate, measuring up to 8 centimeters in diameter. They are a deep, brilliant yellow color. Meyer lemons are highly fragrant; the rinds are full of volatile oils. Their pulp is low in acid, aromatic, floral and sweet. Meyer lemons are only moderately seedy.
Meyer lemons are available year-round, with a peak season in the winter through spring months.
The Meyer lemon, botanically known as Citrus meyerii, is believed to be a natural hybrid of a lemon and either a mandarin or a sweet orange. Meyer lemon trees were plagued by disease until 1975 when the University of California re-released the "Improved Meyer Lemon" tree.
Meyer lemons are a good source of vitamin C, and a source of potassium, calcium and magnesium. The lemons get their flavor and an antioxidant boost from thymol and limonene, flavonoids that protect the immune system.
Meyer lemons are used for their fragrant zest and juice, which is sweeter and more floral than a Eureka or Lisbon. Slice lemons thinly and add to pizza. Add zest to butter cookies, cranberry scones, cheesecake batter or macarons. Juice and combine with water and simple syrup for lemonade. Mix juice and zest with egg yolks and butter, then cook into lemon curd. Toss fresh pasta with lemon zest, basil and Parmesan. Combine olive oil with juice and zest and use as a marinade or vinaigrette for asparagus, broccoli, or fresh peas. Meyer lemons will keep in a cool, dry place for 2 to 3 weeks. Refrigerate for extended storage.