Thursday, September 15, 2022

When life gives you lemons... make Limoncello!!!


My husband fell in love with Limoncello when we visited Italy a few years ago and I never realized how absolutely simple it is to make - and what a great gift it makes as well!   Limoncello liquor is smooth and sweet with an intense lemon flavor.  All you need for a really fantastic limoncello are some good lemons (10), a bottle of vodka (the better, the better), some sugar and some patience!!  It turns out smooth and sweet with an intense lemon flavor.  To make it we're simply infusing lemon peels into vodka!  When you begin peeling your lemons (Meyer lemons are preferred but not required) it's important to try not to get any pit on your peels (the pith is the white part and it is quite bitter).  

Reserve the lemons for another recipe.  My preference is to squeeze them and put them juice into small ice cube trays and once hard drop the cubes into a freezer bag.  It keeps extremely well and I drop one cube everyday into my morning smoothie!  Fresh and healthy and fantastic!

Pour the peels into a 2 Qt pitcher.  My preference is to use a beverage dispensing jug which makes it a lot easier to help with the post-infusion straining!  

Pour all of the 750ml bottle of vodka over the peels, close tightly and store while it is infusing and steeping in a room temperature and non-brightly lit room.  Countertop is fine, but the pantry is even better!

And then we wait....... a month!!!!!!!!!  Some people are good to go ahead and make their actual limoncello in just under a week (check out Giada De Laurentis's version on food network's site here).  The longer you let the flavor seep though, the more deep your flavor will be which is preferred by most Limoncello Lovers).  Now onto the fun part!!

Make a simple sugar:  Take 3 and a half cups water and 2 and a half cups sugar and dissolve into a saucepan.  Using medium heat, stir occasionally and after about five minutes everything should be dissolved (don't let it come to a boil).  Let the sugar water come to a complete cool down before doing anything with it -preferable pour it out of the saucepan into another container to help with the cooling.  Note: sugar water is used in many mixed drinks and can be easily stored in a tightly lidded jar in the refrigerator for up to a month).  

While your sugar water is cooling down, strain your vodka and peels.  I used a coffee filter over a small strainer to get the best clearest remaining liquid!  

Take a DEEP breath... because it smells AMAZING!!!!! You can now discard the peels (they will make your disposal smell wonderful).  You are left with a lemony concentration of infused vodka. 

Now, simply add your sugar water to the vodka and carefully pour into pretty bottles to keep in the refrigerator up to a month or even better in the freezer for up to a year -but it won't last that long!

Here are some other great ways to serve your limoncello aside from just being served chilled straight up in a small glass.....  

How about some limoncello ice cream from Trumatter's blog

Or some Limoncello pound cake with marscapone icing from Circle B Kitchen

And the heavenly sounding Limoncello Gin  Cocktail with Grilled Thyme from Fine Cooking

What is your favorite way to deal with life, when it hands you lemons??