I’ve been having fun finding things to make with the preserved lemons I made several months ago when Costco had Meyer lemons on sale by the bag. I forgot to take a picture when the jar was full, so I took these yesterday while I still had about half of them. So far I’ve used them to make Leeks with Tomatoes and Olives, Roasted Red Pepper and Preserved Lemon Salad, and Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Rosemary. I’ve written one more recipe that is ready to try that calls for candied preserved lemons. I am totally hooked on these and don’t know how I ever got along without them!
I used them in a wonderful Radish Salad, here. If you search online for Moroccan food, you’ll find lots more ways to use them. (You can purchase preserved lemons from stores that sell international food. They’re not cheap, but it is a way to try them while you wait for yours to cure.)
5 to 6 (about 1 pound 5 ounces) Meyer lemons
1/2 cup salt, plus 2 tablespoons for topping off
1 1/2 to 2 cups (375 – 500 ml) fresh lemon juice
Wash and dry a one-quart glass jar with a non-metallic lid. I use a jar with a glass lid and a wire bail. I have a thin glass paper weight that fits into the jar to keep the lemons submerged, which works great if you can find one. Wash the lemons with soap, scrubbing to remove any wax and dirt. Rinse and blot dry.
Cut a thick slice from the base of each lemon. This will remove the stem button and allow the lemons to sit flat. Place one lemon at a time, cut-side-down, on a chopping board and cut lengthwise into quarters almost to the base, but not through the peel, leaving the lemon intact. Repeat with remaining lemons. Place lemons in a single layer in a freezer bag and expel the air. Seal and place in freezer overnight, then remove from freezer and transfer to the fridge to thaw for 6 hours or overnight. This helps to soften the rind and speeds up the process of preservation.
Place some of the salt in a small bowl. Set a lemon on the salt and pour more salt over it, spreading the lemon open so it is thoroughly coated inside and out. Push lemons tightly into jar and pour any salt left in the bowl over them. Top off jar with the extra two tablespoons of salt.
Pour enough lemon juice over the lemons to completely cover them. Use a glass or non-corrosive weight to keep lemons submerged if necessary. Seal jar, label, and date. Put in a cool place, away from direct sunlight, for a day or two and then refrigerate for at least four weeks. Turn or shake the jar occasionally to keep the salt distributed and add more lemon juice if needed to keep lemons covered. (They tend to float up, hence the weight).
To use, remove a lemon from the brine and rinse under cold water. Pat dry. Cut away the lemon flesh and discard. Slice the peel into strips or use as directed in recipe.
Preserved lemons will keep in the refrigerator for several months.
Nutrition data is the same as for regular lemon peel (you only use the peel).
Note: Meyer lemons are a cross with Mandarin oranges. They are sweeter than regular lemons and have no bitter, white pith under the rind.
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(c) 2012, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com