Once upon a time, an Italian girl in the Land of Steady Habits decided she wanted a lemon tree. Yes, you can grow your own citrus–even in New England! And I do.

Two years ago, Limona came home with me.

This semi-dwarf Meyer lemon tree basks in the sun on the deck in warmer weather, and in the living room when temperatures fall. Check out this fun slideshow of Limona with April Katt on YouTube. My little tree, how you’ve grown!

She’s blooming beautifully right now with loads of jasmine-scented blossoms.

Of course, like everything else in Katty’s Kitchen, the harvest is very much an artisanal, small batch operation. Limona yielded four–count them, four–lemons.

That’s OK, I need but three lemons to make gelato.


1¼ cups whole milk (I use The Farmer’s Cow)
¼ cup heavy cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/3 vanilla bean pod, split and scraped (or ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract)
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons for me)
2 teaspoons lemon zest
pinch salt

Heat milk and vanilla on medium to  medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, till small bubbles form at edge of pan. Remove from heat.

Beat together egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk till smooth. Temper egg mixture by slowly adding to hot milk, whisking constantly. Cook over medium-high heat and continue to whisk until mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Do not let it boil!

Strain through fine-mesh sieve into clean bowl, let cool to room temperature. Give the lemons a roll on the counter to maximize the juice before you squeeze ’em. Stir in salt, lemon juice and zest. You can make an ice bath to speed up the process. Chill custard overnight or at least four hours.

Just before turning the chilled custard into your ice cream maker, place the custard and the dasher from your machine into the freezer for up to 20 minutes. It makes the custard nice and thick. Next, let’s go for a spin: process according to your ice cream machine’s directions. Remember, lemon zest LOVES to hang out on the dasher, so be sure to scrape the dasher carefully to ensure the zest goes into the gelato where it belongs. Enjoy!