Last spring I bought a lemon tree because it wasn’t always easy to find organic lemons in the grocery store. I decided I’d be better off to grow my own. I really didn’t consider that with just one tree I likely wasn’t going to have enough lemons to supply all the lemon water I like to drink. I bought the tree, positioned it on a rolling stand and set it outside by the backdoor. I was pleased that it already had several budding lemons on it – all dark green.
Months passed and the green lemons grew quite healthy. I counted eleven in all by the time the tree stopped flowering. As the lemons grew from pea-size to golf-ball size, they stayed a beautiful dark green. I wondered when they would turn yellow.
The kids wondered too. “Mommy, are you sure you didn’t buy a lime tree?”
“I’m pretty sure. We’ll just see what happens,” I commented, thinking to myself that if I was actually growing limes I would just find some salt and tequila and roll with it.
When the weather snapped two weeks ago I brought the lemon tree inside and set it next to the window to enjoy the sun without the cold air. And then the temperature stayed in the 70’s, making me wish I had waited to bring it in. BUT – the lemons, then almost tennis ball size, began to fade into yellow. Within a week two of the lemons were bright yellow and the rest were half-way there.
Then Victoria came to me one evening with a worried look on her face. “Um, Mommy, um…I didn’t pull it, but this lemon came off the tree when I accidentally bumped it,” and she held one of the brighter yellow lemons in her palm.
“If you didn’t pull on it, then it was ready to come off of the branch and be eaten. Let’s see how it tastes!”
We cut into the lemon and a fresh, soft lemon scent filled the air around us. Wow. I think if all lemons had that gentle a scent, even Dom might like them. I was surprised at how soft the rind was, mostly because I am accustomed to the thickness of store-bought lemons that I assume have been force-ripened. The rinds on my lemons are very thin – so thin that gently squeezing an uncut lemon will ooze a little juice (or lemon oil?) through the tiny pores.
So even though I have the tiniest crop, I am pleased beyond measure with my little Charlie Brown lemon tree!!