Lemon adds a good squeeze of sunshine. Tart, tangy, and brilliant yellow, it's the antidote to darkest December.
Except at your local coffee shop, where it's banned. Tea? Sure. Lemon? Nope. It's not, the waiter sneers, local.
Tea, you note, doesn't thrive on Mid-Atlantic lawns. Nor is coffee cultivated in these parts. But it's lemon that provokes the locavore's ire. He proffers instead verjus, which is not meat drippings (that's just jus), nor some sci-fi truth serum. It's an immature grape, squished and strained to a light green, lightly acidic liquid.
You sigh and turn to your tea, adding a surreptitious spritz of lime. You'd plucked the little green pingpong ball from a tree that grows in a pot that sits in your neighbor's kitchen. Silently you sneer: very local.
Makes about 2 dozen slices
Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 3 hours
Wait: 2 days.
3 fresh, firm Meyer lemons (or standard lemons, limes, oranges, or clementines)
1. Slice: Rinse and dry fruit. Use a sharp knife to slice into 1/8-inch thick disks. Discard any seeds. Settle the circles on 1 or 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between slices.
2. Bake: Heat the oven to 150 degrees, or as close as it will get (170 may be the lowest setting). Bake, turning once, until dry (or dry-ish) to the touch, about 3 hours.
3. Rest: Turn off oven and let citrus crisps cool to room temperature, about 3 hours.
4. Dry: Pull sheets out of oven and let crisps sit at room temperature until completely dry. This can take anywhere from 12 hours to 2 days.
5. Store: Gently peel crisps from the parchment. Pile into a clean glass jar and seal it. Crisps will keep up to 1 year.
6. Enjoy: Nice dropped in a drink, pressed onto a cake, scattered over roast chicken or conscripted as crackers. Makes a lovely gift, garland, ornament or gift tag.
- Adapted from Food Gift Love by Maggie Battista.