Friday, July 15, 2011


Now, this is what happens when you're a lazy blogger. I started a post on the first phase of this project back in February... then I forgot to finish it, forgot about the soaking phase-1 limoncello mixture in the cupboard, and then found the whole thing this weekend (forgotten concoction, missing post, and all). So, lets start this from the very beginning... (pretend this is around February 11).

Guess what! After years of nurturing, my little lime tree it actually produced a pretty big crop! After last time, when I tried and failed to make something awesome out of my one lime, I knew this time I had to do better. I knew that the juice of my limes was going to go to the best possible cause- margaritas. But, I wanted to do something with the zest too. Now, I love limoncello, the Italian lemon flavored liquor, and decided I would make lime-oncello (I'm sure there is some legit way to say that but I have no idea what it is).

After scouring the internet, I learned that while you can make it with vodka, that it can give an unwanted flavor, and the best thing to do is use grain alcohol. This lead to an awkward experience at BevMo (home of the 5-cent wine sale, how can you go wrong?) in which I tried to convince the sales clerk that I was not in fact buying Everclear so I could go home to make some kind of frat party kool aid based punch (I have had a lot of such punch in my day, but, I think I can leave those days behind).

Here's what I did... first, I had to get the zest off the limes. First, it is very important to scrub them really thoroughly to get any dirt or pesticides off.  Then, it's critical to get as much zest as possible but NOT the white pith, which is very bitter. I decided to have a little kitchen test, and tried 3 different zesting methods:

We have the traditional veggie peeler, my beloved microplanar, and an Oxo lemon zester. The veggie peeler was good in that it got a lot off quick, but I didn't feel like I could control the depth (and thus avoid the pith) as well. The microplanar worked beautifully as always, but I was worried that the zest would be hard to strain out in the long run. The Oxo zester was the clear winner- it pulled off long strands, and I could control the depth. You can see all the varieties here...
(the pictures in this post are kind of bad, I was borrowing a camera and didn't really have a handle on it)

And, the remnants of the limes, ready for juicing. There are a variety of colors based on ripeness and time of picking (see how many there are?!?)

Now, officially you're supposed to put everything in a glass jar. I decided the Everclear was ALREADY in a glass jar, and just stuffed the lime peel inside. Doesn't it look pretty?

Now... at this point I was supposed to put it into a cupboard for a couple of weeks or up to 40 days. Instead of that, I forgot about it for 4 months (grant deadlines, etc, etc). Theoretically longer is better, so here's hoping that was fine..

(Time travel forward to the present day)

The next step is to make a sugar syrup (the fact that you dilute it later is another reason to go with a stronger alcohol from the start). Based on this site on how to make limoncello, I used 1 3/4 c sugar and 2.5c water, boiled for 5 minutes, and let it cool. At this point, I was clearly beyond the capacity of the Everclear bottle, so got out 2 glass containers, and split the alcohol/lime mixture between them. I then also split the sugar mixture. It is important to make sure the glass containers are VERY clean, and seal completely. I was not entirely confident in the sealing, and so used supplementary saran wrap.
Now, I have to wait just a bit longer before filtering and enjoying!

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