Those of you who know me know that i have real trouble harvesting from my garden. I like the look of the fruit and veggies on the plant. Its produce art and I'll admit to being a strange gardener. That being so, I left my lemons on my small potted tree on as long as possible admiring the contrast between the bright yellow lemons and the blue fence in my courtyard garden.
|No waxing needed to make these lemons shine. Yes, they were almost orange but i assure you they are lemons.|
First of all we are using good old Australian SAXA salt from the deep blue oceans of the Great Southern Ocean. I have three versions of this salt: cooking salt with medium sized crystals; rock salt for the grinders and salt flakes (my favourite) for adding at the last moment. The only thing done to it is to allow it to evaporate in the sun and wind.
|This is not my picture but you get the idea.|
12 unwaxed lemons, washed and patted dry
1 Cup of SAXA salt
2 Tablespoons of Black Peppercorns
2 Bay Leaves
1 Stick of Cinnamon
Cut 10 lemons into quarters but not all the way through. You still want them to hold together (as above).
Open up the lemon and fill with salt. Massage a little salt into the outside of the lemons before packing tightly into a sterilised jar.
Add the peppercorns, bay leaves and cinnamon stick as you go with the remainder of the salt.
Juice the remaining lemons (2) and give the jar a gentle shake to make sure that the lemons are completely submerged.
My jar must have been just that little too big as it took the juice of another 6 lemons to completely submerge them. I also wanted to fill in the gaps so i did cut a couple of quarters and pushed them in. I'm looking forward to see the difference in these I've tried before. The basic recipe for preserved lemons calls for salt and lemon juice only.
Now here is where my plan is fatally flawed. I have to put said jar of captured sunshine into a cool dark cupboard for a month before i can use them. Not much looking at them going on there.
|From whence the lemons came. Note the free lavender bush that came up by itself. I don't want to disturb the lemons roots pulling it out. One day it will make it into the ground.|
Preserved Lemon can be used in lots of things to really give it a zing. Usually the pulp and the pith is removed and the peel is minced or sliced finely and added to all manner of recipes. Just sprinkled on a salad would be amazing. The pulp can be added to stews but make sure you are not adding any other salt or give it a rinse.
Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette Makes 1/2 cup dressing
1/4 of a whole preserved lemon peel
1 teaspoon very finely minced or grated shallot
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
If the lemon peel is thin, simply mince it as finely as you can. If it's thick, divide the lemon peel quarter lengthwise and set each half peel-side down on the cutting board. Steadying the peel by flattening it with the tips of your fingertips, carefully make a lateral slice between the pith and peel and work your way across until you've removed a layer of soft pith. Repeat with the other half, and then you can mince the peels with ease. Combine the preserved lemon with the other ingredients and give them a good whisk. You may not need to salt at all, given the saltiness of the lemon peel. Use at room temperature. I've noted that this dressing is used in several salad recipes made from kale.
Many Moroccan dishes called tajines include Preserved Lemons. I'm not going to try it but many recipes combine preserved lemons with green olives so the flavours must go together. I'm not an olive girl.
Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons & Couscous In this recipe that are roasted in a pan with the chicken and later placed on top of the cooked breast and couscous. Yum Yum!
Or you could simply try putting a couple inside the cavity of a chook before roasting. Or imagine a piece put inside a fish before baking. Preserved lemon also goes well with lamb. I'm not going to try it but many recipes combine preserved lemons with green olives so the flavours must go together.
Fettuccine with Preserved Lemons and Garlic This link has three recipes but i think this one would be my preferred or maybe its the Preserved Lemon Hummus.
Give it a try yourself, next time you are handed a bag of lemons or you have a glut yourself.
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