Thursday, February 23, 2012

When life gives you (Meyer) lemons (Week 8)

While surveying what looked like a mountain of yard work, I noticed my poor dwarf Meyer lemon tree was nearly toppling over from the weight of its crop (some how nature forgot my tree was "dwarf").  It was time to harvest!  Normally, I walk outside and pick one of two (sort of like my own personal super market) but now I clearly had a bumper crop in a very large bag (note here that I already took a hefty crop to my a batch of lemoncello).  For those of you without a tree (since the Meyer lemons are actually the BEST), I ran in to the folks at Smith Family Organic Farms and they had them out at the Kaiser Farmers Market.....time for pickin'

I had to find a way to preserve my sunshine.....

Moroccan Preserved Lemons

  • 8-10 Meyer lemons, scrubbed clean and quartered
  • 1/2 c. kosher salt
  • extra fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • sterilized canning jars

Put a layer of salt in the bottom of the jar.  place a layer of the lemons and squish them down a bit then layer with more slat and repeat until you can squish no more in to the jar. Salt generously and top with more salt.  Let sit out for couple of says at room temperature.  Turn upside down occasionally.  Place in fridge for 3 weeks to soften the rinds.

Well, I wasn't done with those lemons so I made two more items.......

Roasted Lemon Peel

  • 8-10 lemons
  • parchment paper

I used a zester and made the pretty little strips.  I placed the strips on the parchment paper and dried them till golden brown in a 200 degree oven.

....still not done.....

Citrus Finishing Salt

  • 8-10 lemons
  • 1/2 c. flaky sea salt (per tablespoon of zest)
  • parchment paper

On this recipe I used the micro-plane zester (a fine grade of zest and not the strips).  Preheat your oven to oven 225F / 105C. Combine the salt and citrus in a medium bowl and mix well. Really work the zest into the salt, making sure there aren't any clumps of zest. Spread across a parchment lined baking sheet. If you're making more than one flavor of salt, repeat this as many times as necessary. For example, this time I made 6 salts, and I arranged them across two baking sheets.  Bake for 70 minutes, or until the citrus is completely dried out. Flecks of zest should crumble when pinched between your fingers. Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit. At this point you can pulse each salt a few times in a food processor if you like, which is what I do. Or, you can enjoy it as is. Salts keep in an air-tight jar for a couple of months.

....and more lemon obsession.....I squeezed the juice from all of the lemons I zested and placed the juice in ice cube trays for the rest of my cooking.  Thank you Pinterest for playing along with my lemon flavored OCD!

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