Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Preserved Lemons

Rumor has it that every good cook has a jar of preserved lemons on hand. Although I don't normally waste my time on rumors, this is one that I just couldn't ignore. I am a good cook, right? I NEED my own pretty jar of preserved lemons!!! They can add a tangy sweetness to anything from soups, to salads, to rice. We have been trying to cut back on sugars around here so this bit of lemony goodness might just be what we need. So I got to it...

a jar
as many lemons as you can squeeze into said jar
sea salt

First, you slice the ends off each lemon and then cut like the picture above...lengthwise as if you're going to quarter it, but stopping so you don't slice all the way through. Next pack the inside of each lemon with salt (about 1/8 teaspoon).

Shove each of those babies into your jar and squash them down. 

Make one layer of salted lemons and then continue slicing and salting and pushing the lemons down layer after layer until the jar is packed and everything is good and covered with juice. You can buy a special wooden kitchen tool for this process or use whatever you have handy. Just make sure whatever you use is washed and clean. The top layer should be fully covered in brine (that's a fancy word for the salted lemon juice). If it needs to be weighed down you can use a sterilized plate, but I just went in and pushed the lemons under every once in awhile and they stayed submerged.

Then put the lid on that jar and place it, looking all pretty, on your counter (but out of direct sunlight). I love glancing over at all my hard work...lemons getting preserved, homemade sour cream in the process, and soaking soon-to-be crispy nuts.

After about eight weeks open your jar and have a taste. They should have a mellow lemony flavor, but they should not be tart or sour. If you find they are still bitter, put them back on the counter for another week or two. When they taste to your liking pop them in the fridge. They should last for about a year. I don't think mine will last that long though...because I keep using them. They have brightened up my soups, salads, and I have even mixed them into plain yogurt. I love love love preserved lemons.

For more inspiration and recipe ideas check this out: 12 ways preserved lemons make everything taste better.

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