I’m home sick today, resting and recuperating from a long and busy week. My body is tired: my feet hurt, my head hurts, even my eyes hurt.
However, I’m really bad at taking sick days. I simply just don’t know how to be still, and I certainly can’t stay in bed and drink tea all day. I attempted to stay in bed today, but it didn’t happen. I was too tempted by the promise of a french press of coffee and a good book.
I trudged up the stairs to the kitchen with the intent of making coffee, and was nearly blinded by the sun streaming through the kitchen windows. Everything was bathed in light…it was just gorgeous. I made coffee and read Game of Thrones, and basked in the sunlight. The coffee warmed my stomach and the sunshine warmed my soul. Suddenly, I felt a lot better.
And then I saw my jars of preserved lemons, sitting on the counter and they looked so pretty with the light shining on them. They’ve been sitting on the counter for a week, taunting me. Preserved lemons take nearly a month to fully preserve, so for now I just have to look at the pretty little jars of lemons. I can’t actually enjoy them yet. For now, they’re just really lovely to look at.
Since they looked so lovely in the sunlight, I decided to take a few photos and share the recipe.
I’ve never made my own preserved lemons before, but I’ve cooked with them and enjoyed them in many a delicious dish. Preserved lemons are mainly found in the dishes from India, North Africa, and Morocco – but they can be used in a myriad of different dishes. I plan on using my preserved lemons in a number of different ways: lamb tagine, roast chicken, pastas, soups, salad dressings, and more.
Adapted from Burwell General Store
Makes 3 jars
15-20 meyer lemons*
about a cup and a half of kosher (or pickling) salt
3 bay leaves (1 per jar)
15 black peppercorns (5 per jar)
3 pieces of cinnamon stick (1 per jar)
3 cardamom pods
6 whole allspice berries (2 per jar)
*You could use regular lemons, but I prefer Meyer Lemons. They’re a touch sweeter and I think they taste wonderful once preserved.
1. Wash the lemons. Slice off the top of each lemon and then cut the lemons into quarters, but only make each cut 3/4 of the way through the lemon so that the quarters do not fully separate. (See here for a visual). Rub salt into the cuts of each lemon.
2. Pour a 1/4 inch of salt into 3 clean and sterilized jars (enough to cover the bottom of the jar). Start packing lemons into each jar, and press each lemon down firmly so that it releases juice. Salt each layer between the lemons. Pack the jars with as many lemons as you can, pressing the lemons firmly to ensure they release juice. Add spices to the jar, salt the top, and seal the jar. Give the jar a good shake.
3. Leave the jars in a cool, dark place (Note: mine were in the sun, and I’ve since moved them!). Shake each jar once a day. The jar will gradually fill up with lemon juice over the next couple of days. If the jar doesn’t fill up to 3/4 full in the first 2 days, add some extra fresh squeezed lemon juice to the jar.
They lemons will be ready to use after a month, and should keep for up to one year. Enjoy!