PRESERVED LEMONS…..Why????? And what do I do with them?

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I have a feeling this post will be almost as popular as my post last year on Chicken Liver Pate.  In other words, NOT.  However, in Arizona we have so much citrus that we are always looking for ways to use it.  I always freeze the juice in ice cube trays, and then keep the cubes in a baggie in the freezer.  Each cube should be 2 Tbs. juice.  Also a note: If you are able to find Meyer lemons, do it!  They are milder than an average lemon and have a smooth skin.

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Wash lemons and cut the ends off.   Slice each one down to almost the bottom in quarters. Put tightly into jars and sprinkle salt over each layer.  Don’t be afraid to stuff a couple of sections on top to fit into the jar.  Pour fresh lemon juice over them to the top.  Seal tightly and put into fridge for 6 or 7 days.  Shake them up occasionally.

NOW WHAT DO I DO?

There are SO many recipes involving this interesting fruit.  I enjoy doing research on foods and found that North African and Moroccan foods couldn’t exist without preserved lemons.  I love to google subjects and when I googles “Preserved Lemon recipes” I got a truckload of ideas!  Many videos, including Jamie Oliver’s simple lemon vinaigrette with several variations.  Also, particularly if you used Meyer variety, the rind is fabulous chopped into salads, or sliced on lemon chicken or even just as a garnish.  And what about the salty lemon juice left over?  One cook said they save it in a jar and use it for Bloody Mary’s or as a seasoning (careful!  Just a tsp at a time!  Pretty salty).  I also take the lemons when they are ready and rinse them, then squeeze the juice.  It’s less salty that way.

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Here’s just one really good one.  On our 25th wedding anniversary my hubby took me to France.  We ate salad like never before, and everywhere seemed to have the same dressing:  a lemony-olive oil vinaigrette. When we got home I searched high and low for a copy cat of that salad dressing.  The closest I found was Girard’s Champagne dressing.   I’m not even a dressing specialist, but I knew I wanted to try to learn make this simple one!  When I googled recipes, Jamie Oliver had a video showing his creation.  Also One simple one came up with 1/2 cup olive oil, salt, pepper, 1 tbs. honey, 2 tbs. chopped preserved lemon rind, a little thyme and 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice.  I might try the salty juice in this one, and leave out the added salt. But here is Jamies:

3 parts olive oil to one part acid*. Acid is in this case lemon juice, but it can also be vinegar, including champagne, Chinese, balsamic.  Whatever you like!

The above is enough, but for the French kind I described above, he added a heaping Tsp. of dijon mustard, and simply shook it all up in a jar.

Some other uses for preserved lemons: chopped in a relish.   Squeezed over Roasted Potatoes, asparagus or broccoli.  And a wonderful recipe called Labneh, which you will have to look up yourself.  My job here is done!!

 


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