Since we will be the custodians of our neighbor’s garden next door for about a month or so while he travels, we couldn’t help but notice the overabundance of delicious Meyer lemons just sitting there on the tree with no one to eat them and love them.
Now we are having lemon everything. It’s juice is the acid balance for my salad dressings. It’s zest gets sprinkled on the summer squash/mint/coppa/tapenade/goat cheese pizza right after a drizzle of olive oil before it hits the oven. It’s the squeeze to refresh and brighten the leftover whatever I concocted in haste the other day. It’s even the centerpiece on the table in a pretty white, rectangular bowl.
All this and they are still spilling over onto the counter.
Time for preserved lemons. Traditionally, this Moroccan preparation uses simply lemons and salt. I like it with spices as below. Try it on a plain, roasted chicken. Try it on a baked fatty fish with fresh mint. Chop it and toss it into a salad. Stir it into coriander and cumin and pepper-spiced brown rice (or Haiga, if you can find it). Go crazy: make it with limes instead.
6-12 juicy lemons (especially Meyers)
kosher or sea salt
1 in. fresh ginger, chopped
2 in. fresh turmeric, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1. Wash lemons and dry them thoroughly. Slice or quarter the lemons. (Slicing speeds the curing process.)
2. Layer about 1 tablespoon of salt in the bottom of a 1-quart mason jar with a tightly fitting lid (or use a vegetable fermenting jar). Layer the lemons on top, alternating with salt and spices. Add approximately 1 tablespoon of salt for each whole lemon. Tightly pack the jar by gently pressing down on the lemons. If the level of the juice has not risen to cover the fruit. If it is not, squeeze in some additional juice. Seal the jar and shake gently.
3. Let sit in a cool, shady place, shaking occasionally. The lemons are ready when they are soft and the juice has become syrupy, approximately 3 weeks. When you are ready to use your lemons, transfer from fermenting jar into a mason jar. Store in the refrigerator. Keeps for several months or longer, especially if lemons stay submerged in the brine.