Thursday, December 22, 2011

Preserved Lemons

Yay! It's that time of the year..... time to preserve lemons. I love preserved lemons. They are a great way to put up your surplus or put aside lemons for the year while they're in season and a lower price. I like Meyer lemons, but any variety will work the same way. You only need two ingredients, lemons and salt, but traditionally, herbs and spices would be added for a more complex flavor. I like fennel seed and bay leaf, which are fairly traditional, and both of which can be found growing in the Pacific NW. For my container, I can fit 7 lemons, which will last me pretty much till next year depending how much I use them in cooking.

7 lemons
@ 1/2 cup of pickling or sea salt

I don't measure, so 1/2 cup is an estimate. You can't use table salt for this because it's not a pure salt product; it's like salt food product, highly processed with additives. It must be "pickling" salt or sea salt that is not highly processed, think Celtic sea salt.

Wash lemons and cut through as if in quarters, but leave far end intact. If there is a piece of green stem, trim it off. Sprinkle a little salt, and spices, if using in bottom of container. I have a mason type jar that is missing the rubber seal, so it allows air to leave. You can use a fermentation jar, but close loosely so there is a small amount of air flow. Cut the lemons as described and squeeze juice gently into jar without breaking lemon into pieces. I remove as much seeds as possible at this point because they are inedible, but without breaking apart the lemons. Leave any that are too hard to remove. Place lemons in jar, sprinkling some salt inside of each lemon as you go. After first layer in jar, sprinkle some more salt. Continue till all lemons are in jar. Sprinkle more salt on top and press lemons down into jar with wooden spoon until the juice is covering them. Close container and set aside for 3-4 days, and after that, refrigerate and enjoy! Fruity sunshine in winter.

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