I know I should be thinking about yule logs, but... (Preserved Meyer Lemons - or regular lemons...)
Here it is the morning before Christmas and I feel like some wondrous form of Christmas-inspired dessert or appetizer or SOMETHING should be rolling off my fingers.
I do have two sets of yeasted rolls in various stages of completion. The croquembouche that I started is waiting to be assembled. A few other holiday specialties are also waiting to be finished off. But they just aren't "doing it" for me. (OK, maybe the croquembouche excites me. Because. Well. Do I really have to explain that one?)
Unfortunately, I am just not the girl who bakes 30-dozen cookies and populates the earth with amazing cookie cuteness - but I do love me some pretty (and good) cookies, so if you are one of the "30-dozen" bakers... Call me????
I am going to blame my hermity ways, because instead of thinking cookies and pastries, my thoughts race in a different direction: the onset of the citrus season. Oh, yeah, baby. Show me the citrus.
I know they say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. But. But. But... I don't always want to wait.
Fortunately, for people like me there is this magical thing called salt. And it does a beautiful job of keeping things around for impatient people like me. Who don't want to wait a whole year.
While some methods of preserving food can be a little time consuming and frustrating on occasion (yes, Jelly - I mean you), this is a fairly simple preparation that lets TIME do most of the work for you. Yes. Time. Of which most of us have precious little.
The original recipe can be found here on SimplyRecipes.com.
Let's get started!
Adapted from SimplyRecipes.com6 Meyer lemons - cleaned well + additional 1-2 lemons for juice, if needed
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup or more of kosher salt
Additional lemon juice, as needed to cover lemons
A 1-Qt sterilized canning jar
Cover the bottom of the jar with a thin layer of salt (1-2 Tbs).
Prepare the lemons in the following way, by cutting off the stems & then an additional 1/4" off each end of the lemon. Cut the lemons as if you were going to cut them in half lengthwise, starting from the tip, but do not cut all the way. Keep the lemon attached at the base. Make another cut in a similar manner, so now the lemon is quartered, but again, attached at the base.
Squeeze the lemons open and sprinkle (stuff, shove) salt inside the lemon. Sprinkle the outsides as well. Take the salted lemons and pack them into the canning jar. As you layer them in, "squish" them so that the juices start to release - the goal is to get enough lemon juice to pretty much cover the lemons. (If you are a little shy, that is OK - just squeeze a couple of extra lemons until you have enough to cover. It is important that the lemons are covered with juice, this is what will help preserve them). Insert cinnamon sticks, bay leaf, etc. if you are using (just give them a good shove down the side of the jar). Cover mixture with a couple of tablespoons of salt.
Seal the jar and let it hang out on the counter (because it looks so pretty) or in some other out of the way place for 2-3 days. Turn the jar upside down - I like to rotate it 2x's a day (morning and night). After a few days, place the jar in the refrigerator (you still have to turn in upside down once in a while, but at this point every couple of days or so is fine). After about 3 weeks, the lemon rinds should have softened enough so that you can use them.
Now what? When you are ready, take a lemon out and give it a good rinse to remove the salt. Take out any seeds. Chop/ slice the peel & use in cooking - they are good in rice dishes, with chicken, often found in Moroccan cooking.
If you make sure the lemons remain covered in juice, these should keep in the refrigerator for up to 6 months (but I doubt it wil last that long).