Lemons, Olive Oil, and the Limonaia

One of the best pairings is surely one of the oldest—fresh, piquant olive oil with a hit of bright, tart lemon juice. That’s all you need for the loveliest of salads. Or for fast-sautéed shrimp, scallops, chicken, fish. Ecco! We use a ration of 3 T. of oil to 1 T. of lemon juice, a few grinds of pepper and some salt. Nothing finer. 

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Lemons rule our kitchen. Frances even has the old southern habit of putting a slice in Coke. We've returned a thousand times to the Lemon Pound Cake and the Lemon Hazelnut Gelato in The Tuscan Sun Cookbook. Lemon peel and toasted pine nuts on top of shortbread, a lemon stuffed inside a roast chicken, risotto primavera with a squirt or two, homemade lemonade… endless uses. Not the least, a blue bowl piled with the vibrant yellow fruit makes a beautiful centerpiece when there are no flowers in the garden.

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Shortly after we finished the olive harvest, our eight huge potted lemons and six smaller citrus trees were hauled by Giorgio, Fabio, and Franco to the limonaia for the winter. 

We harvested the ripe ones, collecting enough to give bags full to many friends. All winter, crammed into the little glass room, they will be sending into the air their heavy, heavenly blossom scents. In May, they journey back to their appointed spots lining the walkway to the house.

Like the olive oil harvest, the tending to the citrus trees is an essential part of the autumn ritual. We don’t have Thanksgiving here, but these two appointed rounds certainly inspire thanks and connection with the land.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving in the USA and whatever fall rituals accompany those of us in other parts of the world.