Thursday, March 4, 2010

Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemons made their way into Saturday night’s beer dinner  via the steamed mussels and I was immediately smitten. 

preserved lemons 021 

I’ve thought about preserving lemons before,  but  all the recipe that seemed to call for them were exotic; apricots and lamb type combinations that neither I nor my family would like.

After chatting with the chefs Saturday night a whole new preserved lemon world has opened.  Beer-chef John suggests adding them to anything savory that I’d put lemon zest into: vinaigrette, soups, marinades, any type of fish and of course mussels, clams and shrimp.  Chef Ed nodded his agreement.  Preserved lemons are easy to make, keep for 6 months and are horrendously expensive to buy ready made.  Meyer lemons, my favorite type, currently in season are the preferred lemon for preserving.  It seemed that all indicators pointed me in the direction lemon preservation.

Cost Plus World Markets has a great array of jars in all shapes and sizes.  I wanted something moderately attractive since it will be sitting on my counter for a month then living in my fridge indefinitely.  Granted, I have a few months before I know if I did everything right and can use them in a recipe but if you want to roll the dice with me here’s what you do:

Preserved Meyer Lemons

6-8 lemons, depending on the size of your jar.

1/2 cup kosher salt

  1. Slice five of the lemons crosswise as if you were cutting them into quarters but don’t cut all the way through the base.
  2. Open the lemon and pour salt onto the exposed lemon flesh.  
  3. Press the quarters back together to look like a whole lemon then press into jar. 
  4. Repeat, adding more salt between layers, until the jar is filled.
  5. Squeeze the juice from 2-3 remaining lemons and pour into jar.  You don’t need to completely cover the lemons. 
  6. Sit jar on the counter for a month. The lemons will continue to release juice.  Invert the jar every few days. 
  7. Place in the refrigerator.  The lemons are now preserved.  To use, remove amount needed and rise well to eliminate excess salt.  Slice, mince or leave in chunks (some people discard the pulp).  They will keep for up to 6 months.

1 comment:

El said...

Thanks for sharing this recipe. I've been wanting to try these for a long time.