The other day my favourite local grocery store featured organic lemons – twenty five cents each. A bargain. I filled my shopping bag with a couple of dozen of these little darlings to make PRESERVED LEMONS.
PRESERVED LEMONS are one of the indispensable ingredients of Moroccan cooking. I use it not just in tagines or with lamb and chicken I add the lemons to salads and vegetable dishes and use the pickling juice in salad dressings. No matter what some food writers say their unique pickled taste and silken texture cannot be duplicated with fresh lemon or lime juice.
The important thing in preserving lemons is to cover them with salted lemon juice. Preserved lemons are not complicated to make. You partially slice the lemons. Jam them into sterilized jars, add a few spices if desired and freshly squeezed lemon juice, You let the lemons ripen in a warm place for thirty days, shaking the jar each day to distribute the salt and juice. Used pickling juice can be used to make salad dressings and excellent Bloody Marys.
If it important when preserving any type of food that you sterilize your jars and lids, and various tongs and spoons(in this case wooden), Your prep area should be immaculate and you should guard against cross-contamination.
|PRESERVED LEMONS|| |
- 5 lemons (a couple of extra lemons if needed for juice)
- ¼ cup coarse salt, more if desired
- OPTIONAL ADDITION
- 1 CINNAMON STICK
- 3 CLOVES
- 5-6 CORIANDER SEEDS
- 3-4 BLACK PEPPERCORNS
- 1 BAY LEAF
- FRESHLY SQUEEZED LEMON JUICE, IF NECESSARY
- The best way to extract the maximum amount of juice from a lemon is to boil it in water for 2 or 3 minutes and allow it to cool before squeezing.
- Quarter the lemons from the top to within ½ inch of the bottom.
- Sprinkle the salt on the exposed flesh and reshape the fruit.
- Place 1 generous tablespoon salt on the bottom of the mason jar.
- Pack in the lemons and push them down, adding more salt, and the optional spices between layers.
- Press the lemons down to release their juice and to make room for the remaining lemons. If the juice released from the squashed fruit does not cover them add freshly squeezed lemon juice (NOT CHEMICALLY PRODUCED LEMON JUICE AND NOT WATER). Use a WOODEN spoon to force the lemons into place.
- Leave some air space before sealing the jar.
- Let the lemons ripen in a warm place (your kitchen counter works) and shake the jar daily to distribute the salt and juice.
- Let ripen for 30 days. Then refrigerate.
- To use rinse the lemons,as needed, under running water, removing and discarding the pul if desired
- Preserved lemons will keep up to a year, and the pickling juice can be used two or three times over the course of a year..
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