Ark of Taste
Meyer Lemon of California’s Central Coast
Citrus - meyeri
Frank Meyer, an agricultural explorer for the US Department of Agriculture, introduced the Meyer Lemon to the US in 1908 after a plant-collecting trip to China. The lemon is thought to be a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin orange. The Meyer plant is commonly grown in China, where it is potted as an ornamental plant. Genetic researchers at the University of California Riverside have made Meyer Lemon variations that are virtually virus-free.
The Meyer tree is small, reaching 6 to 8 feet at maturity. It flower intermittently throughout the year, but the main season of fruit production is the spring. The lemon is a medium sized, round fruit that has a beautiful golden yellow color. The edible skin is shiny, and smooth with small pores. The rind of the Meyer is thin, and the fruit very juicy, and less acidic than that of true lemons.
The Meyer Lemon became widely popular in the US after being rediscovered by chefs, such as Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, during the California Cuisine revolution. It is now a favorite ingredient of pastry chefs.