A few years ago, Dan and I decided to plant a fruit tree in our backyard to replace an evergreen that I thought was ugly. (It looked like a huge bush and served no purpose other than to fill the corner of our yard.) Dan wanted a lime tree, because they are good in gin and tonics, his favorite drink. I talked him into a lemon tree instead, because lemons have more uses than as garnish for a beverage he doesn’t actually drink anymore anyway.
The lemon tree started producing lemons last year, and we did enjoy a few of them. Unfortunately, neither of us took the time to go out and thoroughly harvest the tree; most of the lemons went bad.
This year, I watched with renewed interest as the lemon tree flowered and produced an abundance of fruit – none of which was actually ripe before Christmas, when Fuzzy asked for some fresh lemons. Of course, as is normal for me, I soon forgot all about the tree’s bounty.
Then last week, Fuzzy came over with her dog. We stepped into the backyard and she pointed out the oranges on our other – also ignored – fruit tree. “You should see the lemon tree!” I said, and we stepped around the first tree to look at the second, which was loaded down with beautiful, yellow citrus.
“You need to pick those lemons!” she said as she pulled one and then another off the tree. I went inside and grabbed some bags, and within a few minutes Fuzzy and I had harvested all but the highest branches.
“What am I going to do with all these?” I asked. We must have had at least fifty, if not a hundred lemons.
“You should juice them.”
It just so happens that a year or so ago Dan and I bought a Breville juicer that could actually get juice from just about anything – lemons aren’t even a challenge. I took it out of the cabinet and assembled it while my grandmother rinsed the fruit in the sink. Before long, we were happily chopping lemons in half and dropping them into the juicer.
When we were done, we had eight containers full of lemon juice – most of which is now in my freezer. My house smelled like lemons for days, and I will be drinking lemonade for months to come.
And I also have the memory of picking and juicing lemons with my grandmother. Even if she did leave before it was time to clean up.