Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Limoncello Chronicles

Dr. C. planted this Meyer lemon tree over the wall in our back yard about 25 years ago when it was dying, and look at it now! Click here for the full story.  We can hardly count the lemons on this tree this year, and I have given them away, sent them to friends, frozen juice, made lemon curd, and this week decided to make Limoncello. 

Limoncello is a lemon liqueur that originated in Southern Italy, using Sorrento lemons, the lemon zest is steeped in grain alcohol (moonshine) then sugar is added, and the resulting liqueur is Limoncello. 
The recipe that I am using is an adaptation of one from the magazine La Cucina Italiana.  In place of grain alcohol I'm using Vodka, which is easier to buy at the local liquor store!

 Using a swivel peeler, remove the zest from 8 lemons, making sure to remove only the zest, and not the bitter pith.  Also remove the zest of a bergamot orange.  Bergamot oranges will give this an interesting bitter quality, so if you decide not to use it, no worries.  They are hard to find, so don't knock yourself out trying to find one. 

Soak the zest in 4 cups of Vodka and 2 cups of water.  Cover and let mellow at room temperature for 5 days.....I'm looking at you Friday!

Strain out the zest, and add 2 to 3 cups (to taste) superfine sugar.  Stirring to dissolve.

Using a funnel, transfer the finished limoncello to two 1-liter bottles, and seal.  Refrigerate for 2 weeks before using. 

There are lots of ways to give, and to use Limoncello, and I'll be exploring those when I finally open our home brew.  I'll keep you posted.  Until then, buona notte!

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