Saturday, February 14, 2009
Grammie knew how to do this. She did not do it while I was around, but I asked her about it once in the seventies and she described it for me. I had to get these two recipes in Italy over the last couple of years and adapt it to what she told me way back then. I am quite sure that Grammie never bought a bottle of Everclear in her life! Please note the lemon tree in the yard on Via Gelso in Malfa.
1 Litre of Everclear alcohol
10 medium to large lemons(try to get them unwaxed or processed in any way.)
1 1/2 litres of water. It is a good idea to bring water to a boil for a couple of minutes to get gasses and chemicals out. Otherwise it might be a good idea to use bottled water or water that has somehow been purified.
3 pounds of white sugar.
Scrub the lemons well. Do not use hot water as you will evaporate some of the oils in the skin.
Take off the lemon zest with a lemon peeler. Do not dig too deep. You want as much yellow and as little white as possible.
Immerse the zest in the alcohol, covered for at least seven days. Try to use a glass container and a glass cover. You might try a large glass jar and cover it with a glass plate. Use plastic wrap to seal it all together.
On day number eight, strain and discard all the solids.
Simmer the sugar and water for about 15 minutes or until you are absolutely sure the sugar is dissolved.
Cool the sugar mix and add to the alcohol.
Pour into pretty glass containers and chill. Keep refrigerated. In Italy they do not worry so much about spoilage, but there is enough organic matter in this to error on the side of caution.
I keep mine in the freezer.