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Lemons Preserving and Using ~ From Meats to Desserts and other foods! Add a Layer of Flavor!
Lemons & Annie May
Freezing Weather in Phoenix!
This past January we had five days of below freezing weather in the Greater Phoenix Area. For several nights it actually got down to 21° Fahrenheit. People in Phoenix were stunned and left to dig for their winter coats. These are the same coats they stored away years ago when they first moved here. Usually, cold Phoenix weather means you have to wear socks and shoes rather than sandals!
Unfortunately, the citrus and other crops were often left to freeze on the vine and tree. The lemon tree below is showing the effects of the freezing weather. Frozen lemons are ruined. The lemons growing near the center of the tree were fine. We began harvesting them over two weeks ago. Every day we could pick a bushel of them. We have lots of lemons!
Lemon Tree Very Frozen!!
So, we have an over-abundance of citrus during this early spring (for the SW USA) harvest season. We try many different ways to preserve the fresh citrus flavors for the rest of the year. Think zucchini if you are from the Midwestern USA. That is how bountiful our citrus harvest is in the SW in January and February.
It is a given that we juice and freeze the juice of many lemons for use. It is relatively easy to dry lemon slices in the oven or dehydrator. However, I prefer the combination of frozen lemon juice and salt preserved lemons.
This method is the Moroccan Preservation method. It uses few ingredients and creates a delicious lemon flavor to be used through-out the year. Others add many other spices to the Moroccan lemon salting method. However, I recommend you start with the simple salt and whole peppercorn method first. Then, feel free to experiment.
I use these preserved lemons for meat roasting, vegetable seasonings and sauces and that is the reason that I prefer to use fewer flavors in the preservation.
I am all about layering flavors in dishes! In order to layer flavors you need ingredients such as Moroccan Preserved lemons to work with.
- 8-12 Lemons, some for juicing
- 1/4 - 1/3 C Kosher or Sea Salt
- 1-2 t. Whole Peppercorns
- Scald one canning jar and lid with boiling water and let sit until you need it (fill with boiling water)
- Wash the lemons. Juice enough lemons to have 2 C. of lemon juice
- Cover the bottom of the canning jar with a thin layer of salt and all the peppercorns.
- Trim the lemon tops and bottoms off. Cut lemons in quarters but not all the way through. (See picture)
- Rub the lemon quarters with the Kosher or Sea Salt
- Press into jar as many as the jar will hold.
- Fill the jar with the lemon juice. Clean off the top of the jar so you can tightly screw the jar lid on. Screw on lid and rotate the whole jar. Sit in back of fridge for at least one month before using.
Jarring the Lemons
Moroccan Style Preserved Lemons
How to use preserved lemons
Let the jarred salted lemons sit on the counter OR in the refrigerator for one month while you turn the jar daily. Turn the jar over, roll it around in your hands. Then set it back down (right side up!) You are moving the ingredients around so as to evenly preserve each lemon.
Once you open the jar to use the contents they must now be kept in the refrigerator.
The juice is ready to use. Do have a tiny taste to gauge how strong the lemon juice is! In order to use the lemons, wash them off and then use either the flesh or the skins. The flavor will be much more rich and deeper than fresh lemons. Again, have a small taste to gauge how to use the lemons.
Here is a partial list of things that this lovely Moroccan lemon preparation may be used in:
· Rub a roast all over with a preserved lemon and even place the lemon in the bottom of the roaster (if you lemon is not too strong for a smaller piece of meat, that is!)
· Add a washed lemon to a chicken both roasting in the oven or in a slow cooker
· Add the lemon juice to chicken and rice soup to make a wonderful Greek soup (see my recipe below)
· Stews take on a wonderful rich flavor using these too
· Savory lemon sauces take on a whole new dimension when you use Moroccan preserved lemons
· Note: Using the juice imparts a milder flavor. Using the lemon flesh imparts a stronger lemon flavor. Using the whole washed lemon will knock the socks off a recipe with flavor. I like the whole lemon first squeezed over a chicken then stuffed inside the chicken and slow cooked until done. Wowee! What a flavorful dish!
· Salads are wonderful with this too!
The better recipes have layers of flavors. This is a layer of flavor that simply cannot be achieved without Moroccan Preserved Lemons.
Here a few of my recipes that I may use the Moroccan Preserved Lemons in. (What would you use them in?)
Here is the Greek Soup!
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Try the juice on this recipe!!
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Vegetables Can Use this Lemon Juice Too!
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