Last week I went to a fermenting class where one of my friends brought her stash of fermented foods for us to try. Included in her haul was preserved lemons, sometimes called Moroccan lemons.
I wish every single person reading this could taste them. Very bright and lemony but not overwhelming. They are very easy to make, so just go ahead and do it. Thank me later. They are so good you might find yourself sneaking a bite from the jar, just as a weird snack. Really, they're that delicious.
How I plan to use them:
- as garnish for fish or roasted chicken (you can eat the rind and pulp)
- as garnish for anything especially Mediterranean dishes like hummus and babaganoush
- add to salads, like tabbouleh, or any salad dressing
- anywhere you want a brighter flavor
- experiment blending (vitamix) a small spoonful into water for an electrolyte drink
- eat right out of the jar
My friend WooPigFoodie says he uses them with any stew or braised dish from chicken to beef to pork. It would be delicious on toast with butter and honey. Plus there's a Chicken Marbela dish from the Silver Palate cookbook that is so good with them.
Don't just take my word for it. Go make your own! Here's the recipe from Nourishing Traditions:
7 organic lemons, preferably the thin-skinned variety
3 tablespoons sea salt, without anti-caking agents
3 cinnamon sticks, broken up (optional)
2 tablespoons, whey
Wash lemons well, slice 5 thinly and cut slices in quarters. Toss in a bowl with salt and cinnamon sticks (if using). Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth glass jar then press down lightly with a wooden pounder (Fermentables in North Little Rock carries them), meat hammer or wooden spoon. Juice the two remaining lemons and add to the whey then pour into jar, pressing down so that the liquid completely covers the lemons. Lemons should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. (I left mine on the counter for 3 days, the kitchen was about 75* - taste everyday and observe how the flavor profile changes. It's crazy, really! Remember, if your kitchen is cooler than 70* you will need more time.) To insure kahm yeast does not grow on the surface, twice a day open the jar, stir then press the solid pieces under the liquid.
Where to get whey?
People are sometimes stumped about whey. It is simply the liquid that pools in yogurt. To harvest whey, buy full fat, plain yogurt. Set a strainer over a bowl. Spoon about 3/4 cup into a coffee filter that is set into the strainer. Overnight the whey will drip into your bowl. What's left in the coffee filter is really thick yogurt (think greek yogurt). The yogurt is still totally edible. If you make too much whey, it will store for about 6 months in the fridge.
Is organic necessary?
When foods are fermented, they become easier to digest or more bio-available to the body. In the same way, if conventional foods are used when fermenting the pesticides are also easier to digest. So, I usually advise people to use organic when fermenting. Also worth noting: I bought organic lemons at Natural Grocers and they were the same price as conventional lemons at Kroger.
Here's a recipe from Nourished Kitchen, who doesn't use whey.