Celestina, our guide on our day trip to beautiful Sorrento and Salerno impressed upon us that, besides the tourists who flock to the region, lemons were an important money maker in Southern Italy. Even the cliffs and smallest gardens are put to work growing lemon trees.
She also told us that many people take advantage of the lemon crop by making their own limoncello at home. She even gave us the following recipe to try ourselves. And in both towns, we found dozens of bottles of limoncello, in all sizes, prices and shapes. The shops were also crammed with enticing lemon-scented soaps like those pictured, as well as with cheerful pottery decorated with lemons.
I succumbed and bought some of both. And a bottle of limoncello, too. (I felt I should do my share to support the local economy, of course!)
The pic below shows three of the five bottles my recipe made. I’d already given away two as gifts. They were very well received!
Combine the sugar and water in a 4-quart nonreactive pot or very large non-reactive saucepan. Stir until the sugar is just incorporated over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and let the mixture boil gently, without stirring, for 10 minutes. Let cool. Put the lemon peel mixture into the syrup, stirring just to blend the two.
Strain the limoncello through a sieve into a very large measuring cup or pitcher. Pour the limoncello into sturdy storage bottles; add corks; and store in a cool spot.