Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mr. Schwartz and I enjoy watching our fair share of cooking shows.  Once I found out we could watch the Cooking Channel it was over.  Totally obsessed.  One of my favorite shows is Extra Virgin.  About Debi Mazar and Italian born Gabriele Corco.  They make tons of tasty looking Italian treats.  I watched a show where they made Limoncello and it peaked my interest.  After seeing the Limoncello on Extra Virgin, I continued to see Limoncello pop up from time to time.  So, I thought it would be good to add Limoncello to the list.  I found a recipe online at What's Cooking  Mr. Schwartz was a big help in the kitchen tonight.  Here's the breakdown. 

Start with 15 lemons.  I have always wanted a lemon tree. I hear that you can grow them inside in MN.  I think we will give it a shot.  But for now, Cub Foods has, well had, a nice supply.  

Wash all of the lemons, ensure that the wax is off.  I used a veggie brush and warm water.  Photography credit: Mr. Schwartz. 

Zest all of the lemons.  Make sure to not go into the white rind--this is said to spoil the Limoncello.  Thanks to my mom for lending her zester today.  I think it was the maiden voyage, it works great. It was a lot of work to get all of them done, this stuff better be good. 
Next, mix 100 proof vodka (yes, that is what the recipe calls for), with the zest of the lemons.  Mr. Schwartz had this container from when we tried to make Stoli Doli's.  If you have read the list...we will be trying again.  
Here is the concoction.  If you look closely, you can see Mr. Schwartz squeezing lemons in the background.  We saved the juice for fresh squeezed lemonade.  
The juice of 15 lemons.  
The finished product stored in a "cool dark place."  Our kitchen island with pots, pans and Corningware. 

As the recipe notes, the longer the vodka/zest sits the better it tastes.  Hopefully we can wait at least 20 days to start the next process.  To be continued.....

Here's the recipe: 


15 Lemons  
2 (750 ml) bottles 100-proof vodka or 
1 (750 ml) bottle of Everclear (190-proof) alcohol
4 cups granulated 

5 cups water (filtered tap water or distilled water)
* Choose thick-skinned lemons because they are easier to zest. The lemons must be yellow and not tinted with green.

Step One:
  • Wash the lemons with a vegetable brush and hot water to remove any reside of pesticides or wax; pat the lemons dry.
  • Carefully zest the lemons with a zester or vegetable peeler so there is no white pith on the peel. NOTE: Use only the outer part of the rind. The pith, the white part underneath the rind, is too bitter and would spoil your limoncello. Check out my web page on How to Zest Lemons.
Step Two:
  • In a large glass jar (1-gallon jar with lid), add vodka or Everclear alcohol.
  • Add the lemon zest as it is zested.
  • Cover the jar and let sit at room temperature for at least (10) ten days and up to (40) days in a cool dark place.

    The longer the mixture rests, the better the end taste will be. (There is no need to stir - all you have to do is wait.) As the limoncello sits, the vodka slowly take on the flavor and rich yellow color of the lemon zest.

Step Three:
  • In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water; bring to a gentle boil and let boil, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let the syrup cool before adding it to the Limoncello mixture.
  • Add cooled sugar mixture to the Limoncello mixture (from Step One).
  • Cover jar and allow to rest for another 10 to 40 days.
Step Four:
  • After the rest period, strain the limoncello; discarding the lemon zest. Pour strained Limoncello in bottle/bottles (of your choice) and seal tightly. 

    NOTE: Coffee filters or cheesecloth work great for straining the mixture. Moisten the filters before beginning the straining process.
  • Keep your bottle/bottles of Limoncello in the freezer until ready to serve. Serve ice cold.

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