We tucked 10 Meyer Lemons into our suitcase before returning from California last month. The lone tree was full of these yellow sweet little gems:
I had just purchased Clothilde Dusoulier’s The French Market Cookbook last fall for the trip to my nephew’s wedding in California and as soon as I read her recipe for Preserved Lemons – Citrons confits I knew exactly what I wanted on my return to California this February.
The first step in preparing any recipe is the mise en place, assembling and measuring all of the ingredients required for the recipe; this way you don’t find out an ingredient is missing half way through preparing the recipe or omit an ingredient all together. I began by sterilizing the 3 pint jars and lids that I would be using in a 250° F oven for 30 minutes.
While sterilizing the jars and lids, I washed the lemons and assembled all remaining ingredients:
Had I actually lived in California then I would use freshly squeezed Meyer Lemon juice but being winter in New Hampshire I opted for the bottled variety.
Next I simply quartered three lemons and covered them with sea salt in a bowl. Once thoroughly covered with salt, I began to layer them into the prepared jars covering with additional salt and coriander seeds adding additional lemon quarters as needed. Once the jar was full, I added lemon juice to cover:
I stored the jars in a cool, dark location, shaking them every 2 to 3 days to help develop an even cure.
Finally I was ready to prepare my own Preserved Lemon & Chicken Pasta for dinner.
My conclusion: tasty. Individually the small preserved lemon slices are tart little salt bombs but when folded into the finished pasta the salt fades into the background and the slices become hidden tiny treats.
The Preserved Lemons recipe is kids’ play, as easy and straightforward as any I have ever followed. It is more than suitable for children, although you might want to sterilize the jars and lids for them and perhaps quarter the lemons. Because of the acid level in the recipe there are no additional canning steps required making this is a great introduction recipe to preserving.
If you prefer you can sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water as recommended by the USDA or run the jars through your dish washer and cover the lids with water from an instant hot water tap. Just make sure they are clean of debris and sterile before using.
3 pints won’t last until my next trip to California so I look forward to using ‘local’ store bought lemons when this batch runs out. I will look for clean, blemish free organic lemons.