Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Preserved Meyer Lemons

Meyer lemons are believed to be a cross between an orange and a lemon, originally grown in China. Slightly sweeter than standard lemons, they are also a deeper yellow-orange hue with a smooth exterior. Praised by restaurant chefs for their unique flavor, they can be used in both sweet and savory applications.

Preserving lemons in salt is a North African tradition. The cure allows for longer storage of the fruit in addition to making the skins more palatable. Before using, remember to rinse the excess salt. The pulp is typically discarded. Should you not find Meyer lemons, feel free to sub regular lemons, limes, kumquats, or really any type of citrus. The chopped rind pairs well with cooked garlic. Stir it into braised greens, stewed chicken, salad dressings, or a pot of rice or couscous.

Makes 1 pint

2 Meyer lemons, cut into quarters
Juice of 2 Meyer lemons
1/2 to 3/4 cup salt

1. Pour 1/4 cup of salt into the bottom of a 1 pint jar. Press 4 lemon wedges in tightly. Pour an additional 1/4 cup salt over the wedges. Press in the remaining 4 wedges. Pour approximately 1/4 salt over the top of the additional wedges. You may need to use slightly less salt, depending on the exact capacity of the jar and how you packed the lemons.
2. Pour in juice of the other 2 lemons. Seal with the lid, and shake aggresively to distribute the salt and juice.
3. Refrigerate for at least a week. Before using the lemons, remove the pulp, rinse the skins, and julienne or chop. The lemons will last in the fridge for up to 1 month.

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