Last Christmas, Santa put a lovely new Oxo serrated peeler in my stocking, just in time for my annual Limoncello-making marathon. As I pulled it out on January 1st, I was reminded of just how much I enjoy this gadget.
I wrote about different kinds of peelers back in September. Specific peelers are good for specific jobs – for this particular one, peeling two dozen lemons, the serrated is the best. I wanted to peel just the yellow part of the lemon, leaving the white pith, which would cause bitterness in the Limoncello.
Holding the lemon in the palm of my left hand and using the peeler with my right hand, I start at the far end of the lemon and draw the peeler toward me. This is a slow peel, not like a fast potato peeling, and I move carefully around the lemon, capturing all the peel.
I peel the lemons directly into large jars; add a sprig of rosemary and a bottle of Everclear. After 40 days, I will add a bottle of 100 proof Vodka, along with sugar water. Another 40 days of rest for the Limoncello, and then it is ready to strain into individual jars for gift giving or personal use.
- 15 Meyer lemons, washed
- 1 4-inch piece fresh rosemary
- 1 bottle (750 ml) 100-proof vodka
- 1 bottle (750 ml) Everclear (or 100 proof vodka, if you cannot find Everclear)
- 4 1/2 cups sugar
Peel lemons with a sharp vegetable peeler, taking only the top layer of zest and none of the white pith. Put zest and rosemary in 1-gallon glass or ceramic container.
Pour bottle of vodka over zest and rosemary. Seal container, and let sit undisturbed in a cool, dark place for 40 days.
After 40 days, continue with recipe. Bring 5 cups of water to boil and add the sugar. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Allow to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Pour syrup and Everclear over lemon/vodka mixture, stir and reseal container. Let sit in a cool, dark place for 40 more days.
After second 40 day period, your Limoncello is ready to go. Pour it through cheesecloth into large pitcher and then into smaller gift bottles. I found great bottles at Specialty Bottles. Serve ice cold before or after dinner. Limoncello is traditionally kept in the freezer between servings.
Note: I am trying this is as a new feature for the new year – each week, I plan to highlight a tool that I find useful in my kitchen, along with suggestions and a recipe for use. Let me know what you think. And, if you have any gadgets you are trying to figure out, let me know, I would love to experiement!