Thursday, December 24, 2009

Preserved Lemons

These lemons make a beautiful gift around the holidays. Just be aware you need to start them about a week in advance. Tell the gift recipient that they are great stirred into just about anything - salads, soups and stews, cooked rice, or stir-fried veggies. And don't forget to save a batch for yourself!

At least one week before gifting, combine 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron threads - I only had about 1/4 tsp. saffron left at home, but my lemons still developed a beautiful orange-y/golden color.

Slice 2 cups of thinly sliced lemons (my slices were about 1/8-inch thick). Place one lemon slice in the bottom of a wide-mouth glass container or jar. Sprinkle with a dash of the salt mixture. Repeat with the rest of your lemons and salt until you have used up both. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 3 days.

3 days later, press the lemon slices down with a spoon. Pour 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil over the lemons. Place a ramekin, custard cup, or other weight (such as a decorative stone) on the lemons, to weigh them down. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 5 days. Try to make sure that all of the lemons are covered by the liquid - I had one corner protruding up, which developed a tiny bit of mold! Luckily I could discard that one lemon slice, and the rest were just fine.

You'll wind up with about 1 cup of preserved lemons - 1 tablespoon is a mere 15 calories. Use any of the culinary suggestions I listed above, or come up with your own! These will keep for 1 month at room temperature, or up to 6 months in the fridge.

Here they are stirred into rice and stir-fried veggies:

kosher salt $6.99
lemons $3.16

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance