January 21, 2010

When life hands you lemons....

...why not preserve them?

I was shopping in Fairway the other day when I noticed some beautiful Meyer Lemons calling my name. Perfect timing.

As you know if you read yesterday's post, my friend Nancy's birthday was this week and I made her some (not so) Red Velvet Cupcakes to celebrate. She and I spend lots of time talking about food. We discuss flavors, recipes, inspiration and get really excited as each new season approaches and different fruits or vegetables come into season. So for her gift, I loved the idea of making her preserved lemons that she could use in the coming months. Sort of like the gift that doesn't end. Or at least the gift that can last up to 6 months in your refrigerator.

I bought the gorgeous Meyer Lemons, preserved them in kosher salt & good olive oil, and included 2 recipes: Chicken Tagine with Lemon & Olives, and Hummus with Preserved Lemons. I hope she likes them!

Preserved Lemons
2 lbs Meyer Lemons
1/2 cup Kosher Salt
1/4 cup Olive Oil
Canning Jar, sterilized

Wash the lemon skin well since you will be preserving them with the skin on, and using the skin in recipes later. Cut the lemons in quarter wedges and place in a large non-reactive bowl. Sprinkle with the kosher salt & toss so that the lemon flesh is covered. Let the lemons and the salt hang out in the bowl for about an hour. You'll notice that the salt will begin to draw the moisture out of the lemons and the peel will begin to soften. After an hour, pack the lemons tightly into your sterilized canning jar. Cover the lemons with the juice & salt from the bowl and pour in the olive oil. Cover tightly and refrigerate.

The lemons won't be ready to use right away. For the next week or two, the salt & lemon juice will work their magic. During that time, feel free to softly shake the jar to keep the salt well blended in the lemon juice & olive oil. The lemons are ready when the brine liquid is cloudy.
As long as the brine covers the lemons, you can keep in your refrigerator for about 6 months.

Need some ideas for using your preserved lemons? Of course the most obvious, but still incredibly wonderful, is a Moroccan tagine. But how about tossing the chopped peel with some olives and fresh herbs for a great appetizer or a quick tapenade. Use the pulp in sauces, stews or spreads like hummus. Throw with some grains or pasta & grilled vegetables for a quick meal. Just remember to rinse off the salt before you use them!

Preserved Meyer Lemons = great gift for fav foodies

I made 2 jars using the recipe above. One for me, one for Nancy. I wrapped the lid of Nancy's jar with some lemon fabric and attached recipes printed on cotton for inspiration. To learn how to make the fabric recipe cards, stop by in the next few days for a quick tutorial.

Since I made myself a jar too, I'll be coming up with lots of preserved lemon recipes in the next few months...

1 comment :

  1. I think I might make these simply because they look so lovely in the jar. Makes me think of warm weather :)