Slow Living | Preserved Lemons

Is there anything better than getting in the kitchen with another woman and creating something to nourish your family?  I would be hard-pressed to name a more enjoyable collaboration than making food with a friend and I spent last Sunday in the kitchen with my new neighbor Nicole to prepare some lemon preserves for future summer feasts.  Lemon preserves are the perfect way to utilize an abundance of lemons on your lemon tree and are a lovely dish to have in your kitchen.  In addition to having knowledge of all things holistic wellness, Nicole has the most incredible selection of hand-made ceramics(see photos below) and is about to have her first child.  I immediately felt drawn to Nicole's calm energy and after chatting about health for a few moments, I knew we would be quick friends and after her husband Jeremy prepared me a whiskey cocktail, I knew we were going to have a great summer.  I once read an article that said a good neighbor is worth $150K a year because of the enrichment they offer and I feel Nicole and Jeremy are worth their weight in gold.  To prepare the preserves, we basically followed a recipe from NY Times cooking.  Here's a little piece from Nicole about making preserves.

N | I love the idea of preserved lemons because they use up our abundance of lemons when our tree is full and dropping fruit, and then we can enjoy them for then next few months.  My favorite ways to use and enjoy preserves are chopped up and mixed in with marinated olives, in tagines, sliced over fish, on top of a roast chicken, and mixed in with veggies.  They add a really nice brightness and tangy flavor to almost any dish.  I think they will be perfect for complimenting spring veggies like asparagus and chard, on anything grilled in the summer,  and in the and in a chickpea stew in the winter.  I also saw a recipe for a kale, pumpkin seed and preserved lemon pesto that I can't wait to try.  I think that will be perfect on top of eggs, rice, or pasta.  And when using preserved lemons, you are getting the super nutritional benefits of the whole lemon and not just the juice!

Ingredients

  • About 10 Lemons
  • Kosher Salt
  • Peppercorns
  • Bayleaves

Process

  1. Scrub 3 to 5 organic lemons, enough to fit snugly in a medium jar with a tight-fitting lid (have 2 to 6 more ready on the side). Slice each lemon from the top to within 1/2 inch of the bottom, almost cutting them into quarters but leaving them attached at one end. Rub kosher salt over the cut surfaces, then reshape the fruit. Cover the bottom of the jar with more kosher salt. Fit all the cut lemons in, breaking them apart if necessary. Sprinkle salt on each layer.
  2. Press the lemons down to release their juices. Add to the jar the peppercorns and bay leaves, then squeeze the additional lemons into the jar until juice covers everything.
  3. Close the jar and let ripen at cool room temperature, shaking the jar every day for 3 to 4 weeks, or until the rinds are tender to the bite. Then store it in the refrigerator.
  4. To use, remove a piece of lemon and rinse it. (Add more fresh lemons to the brine as you use them up.) The minced rind is added at the very end of cooking or used raw; the pulp can be added to a simmering pot.

Enjoy with people you love!