Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Preserving Lemons


Our little lemon tree is full of beautiful ripe lemons right now. I took advantage of the harvest and made a batch of preserved salty lemons. I love this stuff. Again I used Hunter Angler Gardner Cook as a guide and added a cinnamon stick and a couple of cloves before I sealed it up to let it cure for three weeks.

The basic protocol is: wash & dry the lemons thoroughly (more emphasis on the wash). Slice the lemons in quarters, stopping before slicing all the way through. Put in a quart jar and mash down releasing the juice. Add just under a tablespoon of salt (I used Redmond's & yes, that is tablespoon not teaspoon) on top of each lemon. Repeat until you fill the jar. I added the juice of about two lemons to cover the preserves, but it's not necessary. I also took some time to remove the seeds this time, gently pulling open the lemons careful not to break the wedges off.

At a winter bake sale/fundraiser for my oldest son's school, I had a revelation that I should donate a few batches of preserved lemons and/or cultured vegetables. Although I'm not one to put aside an opportunity for baked goods gluttony (witness my weekend baking spree), I realized both these items would be great for the some of the foodie families at the school and offer a bit of diversity at the table.

My mind is flashing forward to the upcoming preschool Carnival in May. The preschool has some seriously talented bakers, both professional and amateur, and the bake sale table is not to be missed. Last year, one of the pros made an almond macaroon-esque cookie with a chocolate coconut milk ganache filling. I bought one to give me a bit of a sugar boost to fill my sails. As I sat down on the grass with loud bouncy houses all around and a dunk tank directly behind me, I took a bite. The creaminess of the ganache melted slowly in my mouth, the taste of a subtle rich almond met the chocolate and feel madly in love. Bouncy houses slipped away, overly tired kids teetering on cranky seemed silent. I returned to the bake sale and bought the entire box. I really truly hope she makes more. Note to self: begin campaign of fandom requesting those cookies.

5 comments:

  1. You've mentioned the preserved lemons before and they sound interesting, but what do you actually do with them? Do you cook with them or use them in a spread or what?

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    1. The key with lemon preserves is that a little goes a long way. I love slicing a wedge or two & topping a dish of rice/quinoa & beans. I also like to slice them thinly & add them to a salad for a tangy salty kick. Tart, salty, lemony. Delicious. I recently started adding them to bean dips & practically sends me into a backflip of joy. So incredibly tasty. I have never cooked with them. I add them afterwards as a condiment on top of cooked meals. Your post has me thinking that I may use it for a spread on a tempeh sandwich for tomorrow's lunch with fresh greens and a crisp pickle. I'm already looking forward to it.

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    2. Sounds good! I'll try it someday if I acquire a bunch of lemons and don't know what to do with them.

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  2. The first time we tried making preserved lemons, they went south on us -- covered with mold or weird goo or something, and no one dared taste them. I'm awfully glad we tried again.

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