01 March 2011

Lemons, Lemons, Lemons

When the gardeners pruned the lemon tree, I ended up with about eight gallons of lemons. This is a serious number of lemons. Last night I made seven pints of preserved lemons and now I only have about two gallons of lemons left.

It's really easy to make preserved lemons, which are from Morocco and are traditionally used in chicken tangines, or stews. You slice a lemon almost into quarters, leaving the four pieces attached at the stem end. Then you stuff kosher salt into the cuts, about a quarter-inch thick. Drop the lemon into the canning jar and cover it with lemon juice. It took four or five small lemons to make enough juice to cover two salted lemons, using one-pint wide mouth jars.

Then you let the jars sit in a cool place for a month and the preserved lemons are ready to use. You take the lemon out of the salty juice, rinse it off, and chop it fairly finely. Drop the rest of the lemon back into the jar for later. Use this anywhere you need a bright lemon taste. I put it in tuna salad, for example.

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