Sunday, February 3, 2008

Lemons and their preservation

Thinking ahead, for a change. In about six weeks, I want to prepare a Moroccan lamb tagine. To do it right, I need preserved lemons, and they take time to pickle. This is my first attempt at preserved lemons, although I've run across the notion before and execution is apparently simplicity itself. We shall see, because there is a remarkable inconsistency about salt levels and length of time needed for pickling. And my source cookbook, Aidells and Kelly on meat, has already flunked on the question of volume. Eight lemons in a quart jar? Hmmmm. That seemed unlikely to me and has proven to be ridiculous. Either they have very small lemons or a very large quart.

At any rate, last night I washed, dried and sectioned the lemons, removing seeds and salting all the segments with 1 cup of Kosher salt. After taking a second trip to the store to buy a suitable jar (no metal lid!) I tossed the salted lemons and a lot of lemon juice in and have been sloshing it around. This morning I added an upturned plate to help keep the lemons under the surface, since they've been bobbing up no matter how much juice I added. After a week? or three weeks? at room temperature, the jar will be topped off with olive juice and refrigerated. By then, there should have been transformations to the lemons, although I'm still not entirely sure how that will look. Some of the recipes I've read include cinnamon, pepper and other seasonings and I may fiddle with those in the next few days.

If the lemons go through a visual transformation, I'll update with photos. It's a challenge to photograph because the camera likes the surface of the jar and it's very difficult to focus on the lemons rather than the glass.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

What's a Moroccan lamb tajine?

I'm guessing you're going to be making a lot of it? :)

-Zooey

Jeff Frane said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tajine

Tajine is the name of a special pot but also for a slow-cooked braised dish composed of meat and vegetables.

I think this recipe only calls for a small portion of the preserved lemons I've made, but the stuff keeps forever and I suspect I'll be fiddling with other recipes. I loves the lemon.

Anonymous said...

Sounds yummy.

The lemons is purdy. Will they get all shriveled up?

-Zooey

Anonymous said...

Hey, send some to me! -Midwestern Ratboy

Anonymous said...

How are those lemons coming along?

I can't get them out of my brain. Lemony pickles or pickly lemons? They must be sooo yummy!

-Zooey