January 29, 2012

And Lemonade Too

When life gives you lemons, why limit yourself to lemonade, especially when said lemons are a bundle of glistering sunny Meyer lemons and a deal you simply cannot pass at a warehouse store (that will not be named here!).

First the lemons. Gorgeous produce is like a work of art. And these lemons are beauties. Meyer lemons are a deep saturated yellow, not your typical anemic lemon, and very juicy.

Meyer Lemons Still Life
Yes, I love my Color Theory: Yellow Lemons + Cobalt Plate.
First on my list are Moroccan Preserved Lemons. Many Moroccan recipes call for preserved lemons but I add them to chicken dishes and even salad dressings for that tangy note that’s hard to describe. Preserved lemons sound exotic and are hard to find in a store but could not be easier to make.

I cut my lemons in quarters and stuff them in a jar with a generous sprinkling of sea salt, squeezing wedges down with a spoon to get the juice flowing. Bay leaf and peppercorns give a little extra flavor. The jar can stay on the counter for 2-3 days (push down lemons with a spoon each day to make sure they are covered in juice) and then lemons need a few weeks in the fridge to finish fermenting. A little wedge of preserved lemon goes a long way so a jar will last a good while.

Moroccan Preserved Lemons
When using preserved lemons skip or reduce the salt so your dish isn't over-salted.
When junior members of the household got a whiff of the lemons bounty, they requested lemonade. So we squeezed the juice, added a bit of sugar and some water. It will keep scurvy away, no?

Meyer Lemon Lemonade
Pitcher of lemonade reminded us of summer in the middle of dreary January.
Finally marmalade. The remaining lemons and peels left from the lemonade get sliced into strips and mixed with sugar and simmered on the stove until it turns into, well, marmalade. Because Meyers have so much juice, I added just a tiny bit of gelatin to sicken the marmalade. This marmalade has some rosemary from the patch in front of my house though it made the color a little dull so next time I am going to stick with basics!
Meyer Lemon marmalade with rosemary herbs
Since I don't keep canning supplies on hand, I reused some jars slated for recycling bin.

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