Pressing On

The morning after harvesting this year's Meyer's lemon crop, I stepped outside and loaded a dishpan full and began the lemon pressing task.
Taking the lemons into the kitchen, I dumped them in da sink and we scrubbed each one, carefully ridding them of air pollution, dust and stuff that accumulates on their skin while ripening.  Some of them have skin damage, which doesn't affect the quality of the lemon at all. This cosmetic damage is caused by birds coming to land on the outer branches of the citrus trees, and "snicking" or essentially 'zesting' the skin to get the oil for their feathers. That being said, we cull out the worst of the bunch and separate them from the "prettiest" of the batches. It always surprises us how, after being washed, they shine and look wonderful, almost artificially perfect. Yesterday was a warm, breezy day so we opened all the windows and swung open the doors as well, enjoying the breeze and lovely "Spring" smells wafting in from the jungle that is our yard.
This quickly became the routine as Peg carried the lemons in from the patio, dumped them into the sink and gave them a good scrubbing. (this is me doing the first load)  The dishpan took up station on the kitchen island where I could reach it and we began the pressing process.

We started by cutting the lemons in half then quartering the halves.  This lets ya put more into the fruit press, exposes the lemon pulp and makes for lots easier, more efficient squeezing. 
This quickly became the routine for the day.  Over and over we carried, rinsed, scrubbed, chopped and pressed on into the night. We started working at 11:30 in the morning and didn't finish 'til after 9 at night, only taking a few minor breaks along the way. While one of us worked, the other took a break...thas teamwork!  What with the refreshing breeze, we talked and laughed and had fun as we worked.

It was all day and into the night but finally we got that wheelbarrow empty.

With my arms tired, shoulders and back starting to ache from turning that press handle all day, ya can't imagine how happy I was when Peg held up a lemon from the sink and said, "This is the one I've been looking for all day....the last one!"
Well, there it is folks; over 9 gallons of fresh pure Meyer Lemon juice.  The gallon bottles are going in the freezer to wait for future projects, like more lemon jelly, etc.  The small water bottles was this year's improvement.  They are gonna be frozen and taken out for home use, like sauces, dressings, desserts, etc.  Lemon juice lasts for years in the fridge, but folks look at us funny when we pull out a gallon of it, so these small bottles should be perfect for little projects and quick glasses of lemonade.  What a wonderful "fruitful" day for Peg and me as we pressed on into the night reveling in God's gracious bounty. No reason to be sour at all.......oh wait, maybe so, eh? But that's a good thing.
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