When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon Granita

Lemon Granita

Lemon granita is tart, cold, crunchy, refreshing and sunshine in a glass. It is one of the classical granita flavors from Sicily.  Although I think it should be a summer treat,  lemons are available in Sicily year-round, and mainly a winter fruit in the US.  Sicilian lemons are a lot like California’s Meyer lemons; sweeter, less acidic, thinner-skinned than regular lemons.  Meyer lemons are spring fruits, well unless you have a Dwarf Meyer Lemon tree, like I do.  Our tree produces lemons practically year-round, also like those in Sicily.


Meyer Lemons


Right now, our short squat lemon tree bush has about 200 lemons fighting for space on the limbs of the teetering dwarf.  The bush might fall over from the weight of all the lemons.  I picked some of the ripe ones and made lemon granita.  After my first crunch of the tangy and sweet lemon ice, I was transported back to Sicily and the summer.  I think I even felt the sun’s heat and heard the Mediterrenean lap against the shore with each bite.  Maybe this is the reason lemons are a winter fruit, so one can believe the day is warm and sunny, even in the midst of one that is cold, windy and rainy.


Lemon Granita in the Lemon

I had actually planned to write about my Sicilian breakfast—-coffee granita with whipped cream.  Yes, that is a normal Sicilian breakfast, which they use to wash down brioche.  But, life brought me lemons, so I made both lemon and coffee granita.  Lucky you, me, and those who came to dinner last night.  

Both granitas are extremely easy to make.  The hardest part of it is remembering to go to the freezer every 30 minutes and scrape the mixture, so you get a chunky texture.   I hope you make both and let me know what you think.  Also, I’m going to have lemons galore—what would you like me to make with them?  (Please post your thoughts/requests in the comments section.)


Coffee Granita

Lemon Granita

Makes 8 servings



2 cups water

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Rind from 2 Meyer lemons (use peeler and remove any of the white pith)

1 1/2 cups lemon juice



Boil the water and granulated sugar.  Remove from the heat once the mixture boils, and cool to room temperature.  Add the rinds from the lemons and lemon juice and put in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  Strain out the rinds, and pour into a 13×9-inch glass dish.  Put in the freezer.  Every 30 minutes, scrape the mixture with a fork.  Repeat this process every 30 minutes for 3 to 4 hours.  The mixture should be frozen but in small chunky shavings.





Coffee Granita



Makes 8 servings



5 cups  hot coffee

1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3 teaspoons vanilla extract



Add the granulated sugar to the hot coffee and stir to dissolve the sugar.  If you like the granita a little sweeter, use 1 1/2 cups of sugar.  (If the sugar doesn’t dissolve, heat until sugar dissolves.)  Add the vanilla extract and cool to room temperature.  Pour into a 13×9-inch glass dish.  Put in the freezer.  Every 30 minutes, scrape the mixture with a fork.  Repeat this process every 30 minutes for 3 to 4 hours.  The mixture should be frozen but in small chunky shavings.


Buon Appetito! 






  1. Natallia
    November 8th

    The lemon granita was so refreshing.

  2. Paula Aiello
    November 8th

    As usual – well done! More recipes to save! (We eat ice cream and cold desserts all year round at this house, so we don’t have to wait for summer).

  3. Jill Silverman Hough
    November 9th

    I’m CRAZY about Meyer lemons – but sadly my tree in Napa has been plagued by disease and I’m about to toss it into the yard waste bin! I once did a great recipe for Meyer Lemon and Vanilla Bean Marmalade for Bon Appetit – search for it on http://www.epicurious.com (for some reason, it doesn’t seem to let me paste the direct link).

  4. Jozee Pizzurro
    November 10th

    Lucky you to have a nice Meyer Lemon tree. Both the lemon and coffee granita look delicious and refreshing. For my taste buds, I would favor the lemon one even though I am also a coffee drinker. Decisions, decisions!
    Lemon pie, lemon tarts, lemon pudding, lemonade (you can juice them and place in ice cube trays for future use). How about a cake with lemon filling and frosting? Is there such a thing as lemon syrup to pour over vanilla ice cream? Hmmm, could be good.

  5. Shannon
    November 13th

    Looks like something even I could do!!!

  6. Angela
    January 24th

    Your images look quite delicious!!

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