Lemon Bar

Lemon Perfection

Loyal readers will recall that I am fortunate to have a nearly unending free source of the most beautiful Meyer lemons known to womankind. I’ve never seen anything like the two fairly scrawny trees at my son’s home. As trees go they are nothing to look at. But boy do they bear fruit! I just picked up a big batch, which means I’ll be juicing and baking up a storm.

Lemon Bar

Some rights reserved by Jing a Ling

Perfect Lemon Bars

Serves: 24
  • Crust:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 3/4 granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice (from about 5 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest (optional; more or less to taste)
  • Powdered sugar for finish
  1. Preheat oven to 315F.
  2. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, powdered sugar and salt.
  4. Blend in the melted butter. It will be crumbly.
  5. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, until just ever so slightly golden. Do not over bake.
  7. Remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 350F.
  8. While crust is baking, in a large bowl beat eggs until light.
  9. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, baking powder and flour.
  10. Stir this dry mixture into the eggs.
  11. Finally, stir in the lemon juice and zest.
  12. This will be slightly runny, and that’s okay.
  13. Pour over the prepared crust.
  14. Return to 350F oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until bars are set.
  15. Allow to cool completely.
  16. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before cutting.

Perfect Lemon Chicken

Serves: 4-6
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  1. In a bowl, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, garlic, red bell pepper, salt, and pepper. Set aside 1/4 cup of the mixture to use for basting.
  2. Place chicken in the bowl, and marinate at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. Preheat grill on high heat or preheat oven to 350F.
  4. Lightly oil grill grate.
  5. Drain and discard marinade from the bowl, and place chicken on the grill.
  6. Cook 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Or bake in preheated oven until juices run clear, about 45 minutes.
  7. Baste occasionally with the reserved marinade.

Perfect Lemonade

Serves: 20
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups lemon juice
  1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 1 cup water.
  2. Bring to boil and stir to dissolve sugar.
  3. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  5. Squeeze enough lemons to make 1 1/2 cups of juice, with pulp. Be sure to remove all seeds.
  6. In pitcher, stir together chilled syrup, lemon juice and remaining 7 cups water. Serve over ice.


Question: Whether it was lemons, tomatoes, zucchini—if you’ve ever had an overabundance of something you grew—how did you use up your harvest? Share your tips and ideas here

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13 replies
  1. Patti Karr
    Patti Karr says:

    Whatever possessed us to plant 8 tomato plants one year, I’ll never know. But we did. We were living out in the country with no neighbors for easy sharing. I setup an assembly line in my kitchen for canning them and at one point was canning 4-6 qts of tomatoes a day for about a month. Fortunately, the layout of that kitchen allowed me to do that…I wouldn’t be able to that with my current kitchen. Then I found out my then husband was cooking with the canned tomatoes about as fast as I could can them! I gave him a quick lesson in how to cook with fresh ones:)

  2. Jon Perry
    Jon Perry says:

    Mary you are the luckiest person in the world to have lemon trees. WOW! I could make lemon sponge pies every day! I have a small garden, and I give most of the peppers and tomatoes away. I do dry some of the tomatoes in a dehydrator. My rhubarb produces all summer and I make strawberry rhubarb pies to share. Rhubarb cake is also delicious. Next year I think I’ll grow strawberries (starting this year so I get some fruit next year).

  3. pattye in seattle
    pattye in seattle says:

    When I found 5 giant zucchinis in our garden, I grated them and made a dozen jars of ZUCCHINI-LIME MARMALADE. Everybody I gave that to for Christmas raved about it!

  4. konnlynne
    konnlynne says:

    Years ago my husband worked for people who planted a LOT of zucchini. When the family had all they wanted, he was free to pick as much as he could carry! They got pretty big and I tried to think of what to do with all of those gigantic squash that wouldn’t take a lot of effort. I decided to try putting all of the liquid ingredients for zucchini bread in the blender along with the zucchinis. I washed them, but I didn’t peel them or remove the seeds. I just chunked it into pieces that would fit in the blender. Then I mixed in the dry ingredients and poured it into the loaf pans to bake! It worked really good!

  5. Kay Koupon
    Kay Koupon says:

    Zucchinni: zucchinni bread which can be frozen and I grate the zucchinni and freeze it to be used in future meals, breads and muffins
    Tomatoes: I froze many just by putting them in the freezer whole with skin on . When I thaw them over the winter I can use them in many dishes and turn them into chopped tomatoes , crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce. I also made many pans of sundried tomatoes which are worth their weight in gold . You know that if you ever bought sundried tomatoes.
    Herbs: I am drying many herbs in my basement: mint , lemon balm, sage , thyme, basil
    Sunflowers: working on my supply of sunflower seeds but haven’t found an efficient way to do it yet.

  6. Betty
    Betty says:

    If you have an abundance of zuchinni, my friend says you can use any favorite Apple Pie recipe, but substiture zuchinni for the apples, and no one will know the difference.

  7. Pat
    Pat says:

    My neighbor planted three tomato plants (we lived in a duplex so we shared the backyard) and every day he would pick the ripe ones and put them on the edge of the back deck (shared deck) to rippen further. After a few days I started throwing the overripe ones in the woods. I asked him why he didn’t eat them and he said he didn’t like tomoatoes (I could only eat so many) but his mother always sent him home with the plants every year. I then got tired of throwing them into the woods so I started taking them to the Ronald McDonald House (worked there at night) and let everybody take what they wanted. Worked great for years until I bought a house and moved. Ha!

  8. Beanie
    Beanie says:

    At the end of the growing season, I use up the extra tomatoes, peppers and oniions by making “Gargage”. It is a delicious base for soup, chili, stew and anything else you might think of!
    20 tomatoes
    4 green, red, orange or yellow sweet peppers
    4 good sized onions
    4 large carrots
    2 stalks of celery
    3 tbs sugar
    3 tsp salt
    1 tsp pepper
    Simmer until all vegetables are tender. Blend and put in freezer bags.

  9. Karen Tennison
    Karen Tennison says:

    I lived in Tyler, Texas one year and the sandy soil made a great garden. I had cucumbers galore, and made several different “flavors” of pickles, made my own labels for the jars, and packed them in nice boxes as gifts at Christmas. I’ve never been able to grow them that abundantly since!

  10. Elaine
    Elaine says:

    You are so blessed to have Meyer lemons readily available for you — they are the absolute best! I live in FL and since the cold spell two years ago haven’t been able to find any. Elaine

  11. Maureen
    Maureen says:

    Swap vegetables with neighbours! I once offered my elderly neighbour a LOT of tomatoes. She replied, “Only if you take a chord of zuccini.”


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