My Meyer lemon tree is laden and weighted down with lemon fruit. Duly noted that the reason this citrus tree was planted was to ensure that we had plenty of fresh lemon juice for lemon drop cocktails Lemon Drop Martini Cocktails Still, what does a girl do with a hundred plus lemons? First, she shares with her family and friends. She juices lemons and freezes the juice, and is forever looking for ways to use and preserve her bounty until the next season.
I borrowed my co-worker friend’s cookbook Sizzling Skillets and other one-pot wonders by Emeril Lagassee. While perusing the cookbook, I stumbled across a simple recipe for salted preserved lemons. Now, I am plagued by my new found romantic notions of using preserved lemons in cooking. The use of preserved lemons is most noted in Moroccan cuisine. There is other endless possibilities in roasted meats, soups, stews and baking too.
This a perfect way to preserve homegrown lemons flavor in a unique way.
Just quarter, add sea salt or kosher salt and press to close
The lemons never have to be refrigerated, and will stay for up to a year after maturing, and their flavors improves with age.
Simple Preserved Lemons
Makes 1-quart (Can be easily doubled, tripled, etc.)
Recipe from Emeril Lagassee
4 unwaxed lemons, preferably organic, well washed and dried
1/4 cup sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, or as needed
1. Using a sharp knife, cut each lemon lengthwise almost through to the stem end, and then rotate the lemon 45 degrees and cut so that the lemon is almost quartered; the lemon should still be connected at one end, but you should be able to open it up, much like a flower. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the salt into the center of each lemon and press to close. Squeeze the lemons into a sterilized jar with a tight-fitting lid (it’s okay if you need to squeeze firmly to compact the lemons; they will soften over time) and add any salt that has fallen from the lemons to the jar. Cover the jar and set aside in a cool, dark place for several days.
2. Uncover the jar and press down on the lemons with your fingers or the back of a spoon. Add enough lemon juice to cover them completely-the amount of lemon juice will vary depending on their ripeness( I have had batches that where no additional lemon juice was necessary because the lemons themselves exuded so much juice). Close the jar and once again set aside in a cool, dark place for 1 month, shaking the jar occasionally to distribute the salt and brine.
3. When the lemons are ready, the peel and flesh will be very soft and you will see that the flesh easily peels away. Discard the flesh, rinse the peel briefly under cool water, and use as needed.