Sunday, October 12, 2008

more lemons

A friend gave me an armful of lemons off her tree yesterday. They are thick skinned and have a medium amount of juice. It’s a long time since I preserved any but in the spirit of pickling things, I got the urge to make a jar.

Previous endeavours in preserving lemons have taught me to downsize. While its nice to give away jars of homemade produce, I found that if you like cooking with preserved lemons you tend to make your own, while those who don’t just tend to let the gifted jars gather dust.

It only takes 5 minutes to put a bottle together. Recipes vary. I tend to follow Stephanie Alexander but you know me by now, I read one version, then another elsewhere and just go ahead with no measurements and throw something together.

I managed to get 3-4 large lemons into one of those coffee jars that old ladies in Op Shops tend to think are worth a dollar a pop.

Five minute preserved lemons

Wash your lemons. Scrub them if necessary. Make sure your fruit is home grown, organic, no spray (or from a reliable organic source) – remember it is the skin you will be eating so you want it chemical-free and clean.

Slice your lemons into wedges. When I’ve done large jars in the past I have partially quartered whole fruit – cutting through the lemon about 4/5 of the way through and pushed some salt and spices into the wedges. For a small container leaving them whole was not an option, so cut each lemon into 8 wedges.

Pack the wedges into a jar with the odd scatter of black peppercorns. Don’t be afraid to push the lemons down with a bit force to reduce some of the juice and oils.

Squeeze some extra lemons (great use for the ones with slightly blighted skins), enough to cover the wedges. Before pouring, stir in a generous handful of rock salt. Let it dissolve a little before pouring the juice over the fruit.

Pop in a stick of cassia if desired.

Seal well.

Keep them on the bench for a week or so, giving them a gentle shake each day.

When you start using them either top with more fresh lemon juice to keep the fruit covered, or pour a thin layer of vegetable oil to top the jar and refrigerate.

Use the skin of the lemons (discarding the pulp) in Middle Eastern dishes, salads and fishy creations.

For those who prefer their recipes with more precise measurements – check out Lucy’s recipe for speedy preserved lemons. I hope her new home has a lemon tree!

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Anonymous Lucy said...

Oh yes, it does.

And you may find you get some more beacause it's ready to be picked clean!

You're so right about not giving preserved lemons away. So many people don't use them...

By the way, your achard is gonna be made very soon. Gorgeous stuff.

4:41 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

oh goodie - to both lemons and you being back online again :)

There was meant to be a jar of achard for you as a housewarming pressie but it seems to have been eaten in the meantime :(

6:02 pm  

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