Friday, March 2, 2012

PRESERVED LEMONS Organic Eureka and Meyer, Moroccan Style

I had these with fresh fried anchovies and fennel the other night. They are with Moroccan Food and grilled meats. I think they would do well with Vegetable Tagines and grains also. I have to wait until mine are cured until I try them.  You can top them with oil when they are ready.  Just take out a quarter of a lemon when you are ready to use them, scrape off the pulp, and dice the soft peel.  I had them in a Chicken Liver saute over Quinoa last night, and this AM, in a Chilaquiles Egg and Avocado dish.  You can also toss the peel in salads and use the oil in the dressing.
There are 2 colors of lemons, as i did not buy quite enough Meyers to fill up the jar, so I used some Organic Eureka lemons to fill.  Either one works, and it's always a good idea to have extras on hand to top off the juice.

If you wish to soften the peel first, soak the lemons in luke warm water for 3 days, changing the water daily.

I have been using these tangy salty tidbits in everything from guacamole, sauteed fish, pork chops, salads, tabbouleh and more.

Preserved Lemons, Moroccan Style
Makes one quart jar

* 6-8 organic meyer lemons, washed and dried plus a couple of extra for juice, if needed
* Salt (use either kosher salt or a coarse sea salt, do NOT use table salt)
* Sterilized quart jar with lid
1. Remove any stems and slice a deep X into each end of the lemon - you're basically cutting each lemon nearly into quarters but not going all the way through.

2. Working over a stainless bowl, pour  salt into both ends of the semi-open lemon to cover the exposed pulp.

3. Pour a layer of salt into the bottom of the quart jar and then press the salt-filled lemon into the bottom of jar and repeat with the remaining lemons.

4. Press the lemons down to release their juice - the liquid should cover them or nearly cover them if you're working with less juicy lemons. You can fill the jar right up to the top since the lemons will reduce as they pickle. Top with a couple tablespoons of salt.  If you don't have enough juice, use freshly squeezed to bring the level up and over the lemons.  Leave some air space before sealing the jar.

You can also add spices if you like - some of the more common options are bay leaf, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and whole cloves.

5. Seal the jar well and leave out for 2-3 days, turning the jar upside down each day to distribute the salt and juice; press the lemons down once a day to make sure they're sitting below the lemon juice to ensure preservation and to soften them.

6. Move the lemons to the fridge and wait three weeks before using to allow the rinds to pickle fully. To use, rinse the lemons, scrape off the pulp, discard any seeds and chop or mince the rind. They'll keep in the fridge for up to 6 months.  Top off with Olive Oil if necessary.

Alternatively, Paula Wolfert uses this method, although I used the above refrigeration method:

"Let the lemons ripen in a warm place, turning the jar upside down each day to distribute the salt and juice.  Let ripen for 30 days.
To use rinse the lemons, as needed, under running water, removing and discarding the pulp, if desired--there is no need to refrigerate after opening.  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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