Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Simple Method for Making Refrigerator Preserved Lemons

Fresh lemons are sliced and dusted with kosher salt

I experimented with the method below from the description in Chef Mourad Lahlou's' beautiful book, New Moroccan for preserving Meyer Lemons. But I tried it with both Meyer Lemons and what I believe are Eureka Lemons, from a neighbor's tree. I'm now a convert for having these "semi-preserved lemons " handy for lots of uses. Both preparations are wonderful to have ready when the inspiration strikes to add them to whatever I'm cooking up.

2 whole lemons, preferably organically grown
kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
a clean jar

This makes about 1 to 1 1/2 cup of packed lemons

Scrub the lemons with a brush under running water (if they were not organically grown, you may want to use some mild dish soap and water to scrub them). Dry thoroughly. Slice into approximately 1/4 inch slices and salt each side of each slice well with the kosher salt. Stack each lemon back together as shown above. Cover tightly in plastic (a baggie or plastic wrap- do each separately) and put into the freezer overnight or for a few days.

Thaw the lemons, rinse briefly under a trickle of water taking care not to get them waterlogged. Shake off the excess water. Put into the jar and cover in olive oil. Put the lid on the jar and store in the refrigerator. The oil may solidify, but that's fine- just use a spoon to scoop out lemon slices and oil to flavor your dishes.

Giganti beans with salsa verde and red sweet peppers
You can chop a couple of slices finely and toss with vegetables or pasta, or add to salsa verde and use on fish, vegetables, or beans. The Meyer lemons will have a sweeter flavor, and the Eureka lemons will be more intense.

Next I'll be posting my recipe for Gigante beans with salsa verde and red sweet peppers, in my series on how to add sunshine to your winter meals with Mediterranean flavors!

Photos: Urban Artichoke

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