Sunday, January 20, 2013

Preserved Meyer Lemons

At work, January is the slow season .  Almost all of my country clubs are closed and the ones that are open this year are spending most of their time rebuilding after the destruction of super storm Sandy. As I drive down the winding country roads, the overcast gloom of the season passes a dark shadow over the once beautiful green golf courses.  It will look like this for the next three month.  In the meantime, my mission is to brave new territory and find customer who are not affected by cold weather and brown grass.  I take a break to do some shopping.  Meyer lemons are in season now, so I couldn’t resist picking them up. 

Native to China, this flowery, low acid citrus fruit is believed to be a cross between a Mandarin orange and a lemon.  Brought to the United States by agriculturalist Frank Nicholas Meyer in 1908, these sweet "lemons" became very popular in California, but were found to carry a virus that wiped out other citrus. As a result, most Meyer lemons were destroyed in the 1940’s.  However, in 1975 the University of California modified the Meyer lemon to what we know today.  Stories like this really put me on the fence concerning nonGMO foods but I will not go there. 

I need to preserve more Lemons for the year.  There is probably one left over in the refrigerator from last year.  In addition to using them as an ingredient in roast fish, tagines, stews and salads they are excellent in Martinis.  This is probably why I have so little left.

Many recipes call for just covering the lemons in salt for one month but I find that covering them with salt and pouring hot water over the lemons preservers them a little faster.  This method is particularly valuable when using regular lemon because it helps to soften up the skin.  I don’t give exact measurement but I am sure you will understand why as you begin to preserve your lemons.  With the exception of the salt none of the other ingredients are mandatory. 
A word of advice however, if are going to use the lemons in a Martini someday, you may want to leave out the chili pepper.

Preserved Meyer Lemons

Meyer lemons
Saffron threads
Coriander seeds
Cinnamon stick
Chili pepper
Sterilized glass jar for preserving
Hot water  

Was lemons;
trim and quarter down to 1/4 in from the bottom

Generously salt the insides before placing them in the jar

Cover lemons with a generous amount of salt
Pour boiling water over the lemons; wipe off excess salt and moisture from around the jar.
Seal the jar.  In order to make sure the lemons stay submerged in the liquid I put a small top in the jar. you can store in the refrigerator, that is were I keep mine or in a cool dry place. In one month they are ready to use. 

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