Limoncello very pretty and the limoncello is sweet…
Limoncello is a traditional Italian liqueur made by using the fat-skinned lemons typical of the south of Italy, known as Sorrento lemons, or – terms a little less likely to be heard at the fruit market – Sfusato Lemonsor and Femminello St. Teresa lemons.
They must be untreated, so homegrown ones are best. You’ll need around one kilo of them.
Firstly, you take a batch of these lemons and wash them very well. Then, with a paring knife and a lot of patience, peel away only the very outer yellow skin, avoiding the white part*.
This should then be steeped in one litre of 90° alcohol, which you can easily buy in Italy at the supermarket or corner store. If you cannot buy this, we have heard of versions done with vodka or gin or other white spirits, however this of course would not result in the same outcome and may be considered sacrilege to many Italians!
The lemon skins need to soak in the alcohol for at least a week. An airtight jar is best for this and should be kept in a cool, dark place.
Every day or so, you need to stir (or shake) the mixture. This allows the alcohol to absorb the colour and lemony zing from the zest.
Once a week or so has passed, heat 1 litre of water in a saucepan plus a little extra. Add in around 1 kilo of sugar and stir until it has totally dissolved, then turn the heat off and let the water cool. Once cooled, pour into the lemony alcohol. Stir well.
Next, you will need to filter the mixture to remove the peels. Using a strainer, pour the mixture into a different container. Now you’re ready for bottling!
You should end up with around 2 litres of delicious, home-made limoncello that is of an intense yellow colour.
Pour into screw-top bottles. Keep one bottle in the freezer, ready to be enjoyed icy cold at the end of a meal.
Of course, like any good recipe, there are slight variations. For instance, the above doses can be adjusted according to preferences, such as with a lower-grade alcohol, more water or extra sugar.
* You’re now going to have around 10 lemons with no peel. They will last a day or two like this then start to go bad. We squeeze the lemon juice into ice cube trays and make lemon ice cubes that be used when you need a dash of lemon in a recipe, or added to a glass of water with some mint for a fancy and refreshing beverage.