My heart doesn’t skip a bit that often at local fruit and vegetable stands anymore. After almost 5 years with this blog, my produce antennae have been on high alert for anything unusual, particularly interesting, etc. So when we made our regular stop at the Toscana Farm Stand last Sunday, I was picking out tomatoes when Mrs. MM stepped out of the car to ask what “those humongous things are” and pointing at what looked like misshapen pomelos. The vendor said, “malaking (large) lemon”. Well, I can tell you, these were frigging HUMONGOUS lemons! Asked further for a name, she said “I don’t know” but she did know it was incredibly sour and that folks used the skin with alcohol… OMG! We thought. Could it be? Really? Were these a locally grown batch of famous Sorrento lemons used to make limoncello, that highly alcoholic sweet and fruity drink that Italians enjoy after a meal? I mean, just take at look at the size of these mommas beside a regular sized green pepper and tomato in the photo above!
Thinking we had made a rather exciting discovery, I weighed two lemons which came in at a whopping 1.3 and 1.1 kilo each and bought them for a total price of PHP240 or roughly $5. They had a nice but not overpowering smell, rather pockmarked skins and I had visions of serious juice being squeezed from within. When I did my post on Sunday minutes after getting back home, Mrs. MM had looked up Sorrento lemons and we really did think these were Sorrento lemons. However, a little more research and soon it started to dawn on us that these might be citron instead. Several readers have obviously run across this fruit elsewhere in the world, but I had never come across a citron before. I always assumed when buying candied citron that it was another name for candied lemons. Turns our citron are NOT lemons and lemons are not citrons. They are related and part of the vast citrus family, but the have many different qualities…
If you google citron and Sorrento lemons, you can certainly remain confused until you cut the fruit open and look at the thickness of the rind, the actual absence of much juice in ctirons… Since we didn’t have the right kind of alcohol needed to make limoncello at home, I was prepared to make a fantastic lemon tart of lemon squares if they were indeed juicy sorrento lemons. But when I cut it open, it was almost definitely a citron.
The taste was incredibly acidic and very dry almost like a bad pomelo. I chopped up the pulpbits and added it to a glass of Pelligrino sparkling water to see if there would be a noticeable flavor but was disappointed. Instead, I cut the rinds and made candied citron instead that turned out very nicely. So I apologize for sounding so excited with the find last Sunday, only to let you down and say it wasn’t what we thought it was… but it was still rather unusual for a fruit and vegetable stand on the way to Tagaytay… :)