Two for Tuesday blog hop!! Preserved lemons.
This post is a part of the Two-For-Tuesday blog carnival.
To see my post on the medicinal properties of lemon, click HERE.
When my family moved to California 12 years ago, we planted a lemon tree in the garden outside my bedroom. It must have been the perfect spot (or on top of radioactive waste), because this tree grew bigger, stronger and faster than any lemon tree I’ve ever seen. I would, over the course of this 12 years, curl up and meditate with my back against its trunk, or lay out a blanket underneath its blossom-heavy branches and spend the night wrapped up in its scent. When I moved to Los Angeles a couple of years ago, one of the things I missed the most was, other than lemon-blossom infused dreams, the fruit. This tree has the the biggest lemons I’ve ever seen in my life. Chernobyl-style lemons. Luckily, I usually have a steady supply of lemons that my mum preserves for me. Preserved lemons can be used for so many different things, and I use them all the time in salads and stews. So imagine my horror a couple of weeks ago when I reached into my preserve cupboard and grabbed the LAST JAR of preserved lemons. I was distraught. I didn’t know what to do. I contemplated going to the store and buying a few pounds of lemons to preserve, but somehow that seemed silly– the whole purpose of preserving is to store things that you have in excess, not to spend lots of money just to fill your cupboards with things. Regardless, I was upset. When I used the last two pieces, I may have shed a tear or two.
But a few days ago I opened my front door, to do my pre-dawn-sit-on-the-front-steps thing, and there was a WHOLE BAG of lemons just sitting there waiting for me! After thanking the lemon-fairies, I realised that it was probably my neighbour, Edith, who has a lemon tree, and probably took pity on my plight. Fairy or no, I sure was grateful.
Makes approx. 6 8oz jars
5 lb lemons
12 oz salt
1/4 cup black peppercorns
1/8 cup red pepper flakes
Sterilize the jars either in a hot water bath, or in a very hot oven for 15 minutes, and remove to cool (until they’re warm, not roasting hot). Meanwhile, cut the lemons, lengthwise, into quarters, and place in a big metal bowl. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the salt, tossing the lemons about. Sprinkle with another third, and repeat. Pour the last of the salt over the lemons, and make sure each quarter is covered.
Divide the peppercorns and chili flakes between each of the jars, sprinkling them into the bottoms. Then start to stuff the lemons in. Squeeze the juice from each lemon quarter into the jar, then wedge it down into the bottom. Keep doing this until you have a jar that is full of lemons and lemon juice. The juice should cover the lemons, and there should be about 1/4 inch space at the top. Screw on the lids, label, and store for 3 weeks before using. Use within 2 years.
Preserved lemon and tomato salad
2 pieces preserved lemon.
5 juicy ripe heirloom tomatoes
5 sprigs basil, chopped
apple cider vinegar
Scoop the flesh out of the preserved lemon, and discard. Rinse the rind in cold water, then chop into small pieces. Chop the tomato into chunks, and toss in a bowl with the lemons, some crumbled feta, and the basil. Season, and drizzle with olive oil and vinegar.