Lemons’ high nutritive content, especially ascorbic acid, helps to build the body's immune system and ward off infection. Its digestive qualities help to ease indigestion, colic and nausea. Compounds in lemons are believed to decrease cancer risk. Lemon cleans the kidneys, acts as a diuretic, purifies blood and controls bile. I think they are magical.
Many Moroccan and Middle Eastern recipes call for preserved lemons. They are used in tagines, soups and other dishes to provide wonderful lemon flavor. These preserved lemons are rich in lactic acid-producing bacteria, and, after the fermentation process is complete, both the flesh and rind of the lemon become edible. This recipe is simply lemons that have been pickled in salt and their own juices.
- 8 organic lemons (Meyer lemons if they are available or the commonly found Eureka lemons)
- sea salt or kosher salt
- optional cinnamon stick, bay leaf or chili pepper
- Mason jar
Wash the lemons very well as you will be eating the rind. Place 2 tablespoons of salt at the bottom of a clean jar. Cut the tip that was attached to the tree off each lemon. Then, you are going to quarter the lemons, but without cutting all the way through them. So, cut the lemons as if you were going to cut them in half lengthwise, but leave about one-half to one inch of it connected at the base. Make another cut to quarter the lemon, but again, keep it attached at the base.
Open the lemon and sprinkle a tablespoon of salt inside. Firmly pack the lemon into the jar so that their juice is extracted. Continue this process, adding a tablespoon layer of salt between each lemon. If you finish, and not a lot of juice has come out of the lemons, juice a few and add the juice to ensure the lemons are completely submerged. At this point, you can add the optional cinnamon or other spice, depending on what you want the flavor to be. Then add 2 tablespoons of salt to the top of the jar and secure the lid.
When you need a lemon for a recipe, make sure to give it a thorough rinse to remove the salt. Most people discard the pulp and seeds, but if you like the pulp flavor, go ahead and use it. Recipes using Preserved Lemons are still to come!