Monday, June 20, 2011

Salt Preserved Lemons

Lemons are in season in the summer months. Lemon zest adds powerful flavor to rice, desserts,
pastas, muffins, cookies, cakes, breads, vegetables, 
popcorn, and drinks.

It is a good source of vitamin C, citric acid,
and potassium. Lemon zest may be used fresh,
dried, or pickled in salt. Here is how to preserve
it in salt when they are in their peak season.

Salt Preserved Lemons
4 Lemons

Cut the tips off the lemon on each side. Make one cut lengthwise, leaving it attached at the stem. Make a perpendicular cut, still leaving quarters. Generously cover lemons with salt. Pack tightly into jars, pressing down so the lemons produce juice.

Seal jar and store at room temperature in a dark place. In 3 days, add additional lemon juice if needed, to cover lemons. Let lemons cure for one week, then refrigerate. Lemons will soften and the juice will turn slightly cloudy.

I know it is weird that the liquid is cloudy because in most canning, that is something bad. But because this is salt preserved, it is ok! The shelf life of these preserved lemons is between six months to one year.

To serve, remove lemons and rinse excess salt off. Scoop away the flesh and cut the peel into thin slices or use the lemon zest. Serve in drinks as a garnish, or recipes calling for lemon zest. The flesh of the lemon and juice will be to salty to use in cooking, but this is to precious to just through away.

The great news is that salt is naturally a gentle abrasive, while the lemon juice  has natural disinfectant properties. So here are four ways to use the salty juice and flesh of the lemon:

1. Cutting boards and laminate counter tops are effectively cleaned by letting the juice sit on the surface for 5-10 minutes and then rinse away. This will also help remove stains.

2. Use salt and lemons to clean copper. Rub until tarnish is removed. Then rinse copper with fresh water.

3. Lemon and salt can be clean your microwave by adding a little water and cooking for 2-3 minutes. Wipe with a clean towel.

4. Pour ice cubes and lemony mixture down your dish disposal. This will help clean your disposal, and your kitchen will smell great!

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