Saturday, January 9, 2010
Salt and Time and Lemons
We were going to have a hard freeze here on the Gulf Coast and the plants were going to take a beating. Step one in freeze prep is to salvage what fruit you can. So out I went with the girl and we picked two large bags of oranges and four monster bags of lemons.
Oranges are not a problem. You can make orange juice, eat a bunch and send the large pretty ones over to neighbors as belated Christmas gifts. But what the heck are you to do with four monster bags of Meyer lemons? One thing is for sure, the kids will learn to either love or hate lemon pudding.
Another trick is to preserve the lemons in salt. The preparation is pretty straightforward. First you clean and sterilize your containers; I use scalding water and Five Star San. After the containers are clean put ~2 tablespoons of salt across the bottom. Next you wash and scrub the lemons to get off all the bird poop. Quarter the lemons but leave them intact at the base. Pour massive quantities of salt into the cuts and place the lemons into the containers. You should not be dainty. Really press the lemons in there and cram them together. It is important that the lemons are covered in lemon juice and all the pressing and squeezing helps. After the lemons are packed I used the juice of extra lemons to completely cover then topped with another tablespoon of salt. These guys will hang out in the fridge for a few months before I pop them open and start playing.
The only time I have encountered preserved lemons is in a Moroccan chicken and olive dish. I will be scouring the internet in search of more uses. Who knows, maybe I should just drive them up to Austin and drop them off in some guy's salumi shop.