Thursday, October 18, 2007

Preserved Lemons

This summer, I picked up a crate of lemons at Costco (I know, not exactly local - but I love lemons!). Then I needed something to do with them, so I started pickling them. The first recipe I used is from a friendly chef, and is the simplest (and the easiest to cook with). I've made it before, so this was my sure thing.

Preserved lemons:
Get good-looking lemons and quarter them. Pack them in a jar with lots of kosher salt, pressing down firnly, and enough lemon juice to cover. Turn into a new jar each day, making sure that lemons are covered by juice, for 10-14 days. Scrape salt from lemons and store in olive oil in the frig – “lasts forever”. To use, scrape or rinse salt off lemons, remove seeds, and chop with peel.

My favorite thing to do with this is to make a watercress pesto, with the lemons, chopped watercress, minced garlic, and olive oil. My daughter eats them with just about anything.

Then I got more adventurous. I tried a recipe I found on the web for No-oil lemon pickle, with lots of curry-powder flavors (I actually substituted curry powder for the mix of spices, since I didn't have many of them); the hard part was waiting two months while it cooks in the sun. I'm not very familiar with Indian food, so the flavors are taking some time to get used to - but it is good with steak so far.

The oddest one is a sweet pickle from The Joy of Pickling. The process for making them is similar to the Indian pickles, but it uses a lot of sugar and related spices instead of curry powder, and only takes one month to preserve. I have to admit that I haven't really had the courage to do much with this one yet.

All three are pungent flavors and can be challenging to use, but they are worth the experiments - and buying lemons at Costco.

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