Saturday, August 30, 2014
Until this morning, I had never attempted to preserve my own lemons. Despite the fact that I love their taste whenever I have them in Moroccan cuisine. So when I looked at the dozens of Meyer Lemons drooping off the tree in our yard, I thought it was high time to try my hand at preserving them.
I used Mark Bittman's recipe from his How to Cook Everything book. I've found this book to be extremely handy, especially for basic recipes. The thing I like best about it, is that he gives you so many ideas for variations. I highly recommend the book. I'm also curious to pick up his other book, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, as I'm always looking for new ways to dress up veggies around here.
While these cure on my counter and in the fridge for the next few weeks, I'll be looking for recipes to try them out in. I've got a roasted chickpea salad with harissa and arugula on the list, a chicken and olive dish, and a preserved lemon vinaigrette I found on NPR.
So, if you find yourself faced with a couple pounds of lemons, here is what Mark Bittman suggests you do. It was so easy, took about 20 minutes total. I'll report back on how they turn out.
Mark Bittman - How to Cook Everything
3lbs lemons, preferably unwaxed, quartered lengthwise (I used Meyer Lemons)
3/4 cups kosher salt (I used a little bit more than this -- probably more like a cup)
Half 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2-3 black peppercorns
2 cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
Fill a clean quart-sized jar with a tight fitting lid with boiling water and soak its lid in boiling water too. Let the water sit while you cut the lemons, then dump the water out.
Set the jar on the counter and vigorously shake it once a day for 7-10 days -- during this time it will start to bubble a little and the dried spices will swell back to their original size.
Put the jar in the refrigerator and let the lemons continue to cure for another week before using. The lemons will keep for at least 2 months in the refrigerator.
When they have cured, unscrew the lid. After a moment, they should smell sweet and citrusy -- an ammonia smell means they've gone wrong somewhere along the line.
To use in stews, blanch the quartered lemons in unsalted boiling water for 10 seconds, just long enough to leach out a little of the salt. For salads or quick-cooked dishes, scrape the flesh away from the peel, discard the flesh, and blanch the peel in unsalted boiling water as above.
Posted by Elissa at Saturday, August 30, 2014