Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Make Your Own Preserved Lemons

I came home from work the other day to find a huge pile of lemon tree branches studded with lemons in varying stages of ripeness. It turns out my mother had been overcome with the Spring Cleaning Urge and had been weeding, pruning, mulching, raking, and the like for hours. But, what to do with 25 or so stunningly beautiful lemons? It was too many to use in quotidian cooking, and many were still a bit green to be entirely useful. I never drink lemonade, and am utterly dissatisfied with my lemon bar recipe. What else do people do with lemons?

Preserve them! Preserved lemons are a staple in Moroccan and Middle Eastern cooking imparting a bitter, salty lemon flavor unlike anything else. They are also a bit of a commitment, not for those seeking instant gratification. So if you have a peck of lemons just waiting for a purpose, try this recipe. It can, of course, be reduced for a smaller harvest.

Slice 5 lemons lengthwise into quarters keeping them attached at one end. Measure 1/4 cup salt. Rub the inside of each lemon generously with salt.

Pack the lemons tightly into a 1 quart sealed glass jar. Add the remaining salt to the lemons.

Cover completely with lemon juice, 8 to 10 lemons.

Seal the jar and set aside. Invert the jar every day for 14 days. Come to Dinner Peace to find out what you should do with them!

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