Friday, February 02, 2007

Preserved Lemons

hedging my bets

recipe # 166

We have a lemon tree growing in our front year. This is terrific, because if society as we know it breaks down, my family won't have to worry about scurvy! I watched Children of Men last night, just after finishing reading The Road, so I am feeling a touch apocalyptic.

Considering my frame of mind, maybe I should have made lemonade. Instead, I made preserved lemons. . . you know. . . just incase.

I looked at the recipe in The Cafe Pongo Cookbook, but basically stayed true to he recipe I found in epicurious:
Preserved Lemons
5 lemons
1/4 cup salt, more if desired

Optional Safi mixture:
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
5 to 6 coriander seeds
3 to 4 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Freshly squeezed lemon juice, if necessary

Shallow bowl
Sterile 1-pint mason jar
Sharp knife

1. If you wish to soften the peel, soak the lemons in lukewarm water for 3 days, changing the water daily.

2. Quarter the lemons from the top to within 1/2 inch of the bottom, sprinkle salt on the exposed flesh, then reshape the fruit.

3. Place 1 tablespoon salt on the bottom of the mason jar. Pack in the lemons and push them down, adding more salt, and the optional spices between layers. Press the lemons down to release their juices and to make room for the remaining lemons. (If the juice released from the squashed fruit does not cover them, add freshly squeezed lemon juice — not chemically produced lemon juice and not water.*) Leave some air space before sealing the jar.

4. Let the lemons ripen in a warm place, shaking the jar 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 — and 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.

In a month I'll know how it turned out. . . .

Now back to concentrating on my impending sense of doom.

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