Monday, March 31, 2014

When Life Gives You Lemons (Favorite Things)

There is one item that is always on my grocery shopping list: lemons.

Lemons are extremely useful and versatile.The skin of the lemon will give you zest that can be used to add flavor to -- just about anything.

Always make sure you wash lemons (and other citrus fruit) before zesting or juicing to eliminate oils or waxes that have been used on the skins.

Gone are the days when I use the juice that can be squeezed out of a little plastic container designed to look like a lemon. Fresh lemon juice is the way to go:

Fresh lemon juice is ideal for making salad dressings, sauces, mayonnaise. I use it in fillings for pies, in applesauce, and in jams. You can never have enough lemons, or lemon juice. But just in case you do.... in case life gives you a whole bunch of lemons, then it's time to preserve them.

Use a large, sanitized Ball jar. Remove the top and bottom tips of the lemons and quarter them without slicing all the way through the bottom. Pack the centers of the lemons with lots of sea salt (or kosher salt). You can't use too much salt. Stuff the lemons into the jar:

Leave an inch of headspace in the jar. Add more salt and then fill the jar with lemon juice (freshly squeezed, of course). Make sure all of the lemons are covered with juice.

Cover and let the jar sit in the pantry for 4 to 5 weeks. The salt will break down the lemons and make the skins oh-so-tender. Once the lemons are broken down as much as you'd like, move the jar to the refrigerator and they will keep for months.

When you have a recipe that calls that preserved lemons, remove a piece from the jar, scoop out and discard the pulp, wash and slice the skins. Life is definitely better with lemons, don't you agree?

1 comment:

Jean | said...

Colette, I'm a huge fan of lemons but, strangely enough, have never made preserved lemons! It is one of those easy-to-do things that has been on my to-do list for several years and just keeps getting carried over to the next list! I shall revisit this post for inspiration