Jars of Renewal — Limoncello

August 24th

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The first jars of renewal project requires a bit of time to prepare — hence its place in the lineup. The December 2007 issue of Sunset magazine featured a myriad of ideas on what to do with all those lemons us living in the southwestern US would soon be seeing. Sure enough, John’s tree was brimming. With a rosemary limoncello recipe in hand, I harvested dozens of lemons. I had to laugh out loud when later in the year he mentioned he thought the tree was sick because it didn’t produce as much fruit this year. I reassured him that in fact it produced more than ever. I was, um, just using them.
Hey! He’s a bachelor. It’s not like he was sort for a lemon meringue pie. Plus, I’m thinking he’d love what I turned those golden babies into.

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Rosemary Limoncello
“Italy’s Amalfi Coast and adjoining Sorrento Peninsula are the regions most famous for this intensely lemony liqueur, traditionally served ice cold as an after-dinner drink.”

Prep and cook time: About 1 1/2 hours, plus at least 2 weeks and up to 80 days of infusing time.
Makes: 10 2/3 cups (ten 8.5 ounce bottles)

Notes: Either Meyer or Eureka lemons work in this recipe. To speed up the process, shorten the infusing time in steps 2 and 4 to 1 week each, and you’ll have a fine although less intense liqueur. Limoncello keeps indefinitely in the freezer.

18 lemons, washed and dried
One 4-inch rosemary sprig, washed and dried
2 bottles (750 ml each) 100-proof vodka
4 1/2 cups of sugar

Peel lemons with a sharp vegetable peeler, taking only the zest and avoiding any white pith. Put rosemary in a 1 gal glass or ceramic container with a tight seal. Add zest to jar. Pour 750 ml of vodka over rosemary and zest. Seal container. Let sit undisturbed in a cool, dark place for 40 days. (This is a great time to go to Africa, for example.) In a saucepan, bring 5 cups of water to a boil and add sugar. Cook, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Leg sugar syrup cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Pour syrup and remaining 750 ml of vodka over lemon-vodka mixture. Stir and seal. Let sit in a cool, dark place for another 40 days.
Pour limoncello through cheesecloth into a large spouted pitcher and divide among gift bottles.

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That’s Sunset’s way. My way includes using what you have — two sprigs of rosemary, a giant tupperware container for the mixing and leaving the lemons in the bottles at the end because I think they are pretty and add character. Oh, and I tried peeling them and it was a disaster including skinned knuckles. So the rind stayed on most of these suckers.

To fill and then jazz up the bottles, you’ll need a couple supplies:
Several wide-mouth jars with tight lids, tongs, a funnel, a ladle, fabric, cards, ribbon, pinking shears and rubber bands.

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Voila — fancied up moonshine ready to go in recycled jars. If lemons aren’t in your pantry at the moment, I’m thinking this would also be great with oranges or even Mexican-style with limes. Spicy! If you try it out, let me know. I’d love to hear how you play with the recipe.

Official jar count: 7


Posted in
Domestic Art, Happy Hippie, Kitchen Talk, Recycle, Reuse
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25 Responses

  1. Was thinking about you when I saw some jars in my fridge that may be empty soon but, I have already made my limoncello for the year.

    Like the fabric on the top. 😉

  2. Rosemary infused lemoncello, now doesn’t that sound good! My next Meyer lemon crop (early next year) I will give lemoncello a try. I didn’t like the recipes I have tried in the past. Very intresting using the whole lemons Kelli! They look pretty in the bottles. How does it taste infused with the rosemary? I have a lot of Meyer Lemon juice in the freezer from my crop earlier this year. I think I am going to make Meyer Lemon Curd right before our annual holiday party and give them to our guests.

  3. Yum! I remember Shelley posted a limoncello recipe a while ago too. (And, a greay way to use your jars and cute lemon fabric!)

  4. That is soo pretty with the fabric and the tags..I played around with stamps and stationary today, and I saw why you like it so much; it’s addicting!

  5. Hope they have lemons at Aldi this week!

  6. Oh yummy! Pour a tall one for me please.

    No really, I will have to try this recipe out! Thanks K!

  7. Delish!! When it’s all done, you can make sorbet out of it.

  8. Thanks for the idea. I’ve a friend who would love that as a Christmas present. She’s also the crafty type and makes homemade gingerbread houses for Christmas as well as infused oils.

  9. I’ll start tonight – so within November I’d should be finished 😉 Just in perfect time!

    By the way – this works also lovely with dried apricots – a little sugar and let it “stay” for weeks – jummy and the fruits make you drunk soooo fast ;-))


  10. Hello there!

    Lemoncello is great mixed with vodka (or gin) and soda water, as well. A perfect afternoon treat!

  11. VERY nice! Send me some would ya?

  12. That’s some pretty looking hootch!

    I have been sipping off the limoncello I made last year from the freezer.

    I feel like an old timey bathtub gin maker or something.

  13. This is a wonderful project from beginning to end. I love what you’ve done.

    I’m so sorry you couldn’t join me yesterday at the ballgame. I had a grand time and posted about it today.

  14. What a great idea. Unusual and unexpected. That’s one of my favourite fabrics, and it looks good on the limoncello.

  15. I’m curious, how did this limoncello taste? I like the idea of adding rosemary, I recently made a batch with mint. Adding the pith, or whole lemon in this case, to the infusion seems to cause a very bitter flavor. Did you experience this? Also, an easy way around all the peeling is to use a microplane grater.

  16. what fun- just the other night we re-read a journal entry about our first time tasting limoncello on the streets of Naples after a great meal out.

  17. mmmm…lidia bastianich has a recipe for limoncello tiramisu. i bet this would be just perfect for that!

  18. I’m wondering what Ben wondered as well…how’d it taste with the entire lemon? I heard the pith will make it bitter.

    I’ve never had limoncello before but the hubby brought home a bunch of green lemons from behind his old house and a quick google search found me a green lemon recipe. I think I’m going to try the rosemary in it, too!

  19. I am going to try this out soon, hopefully Indian style. Will keep you posted.

    On a related note, you might want to get a search bar on your blog, I just saw this on some other blog, followed it to your flickr and to here and it took me a while to find the recipe.