Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lemony Goodness

OMG, the citrus!

The most persuasive argument for moving to California (if I were open to persuasion) would be the abundant and delicious citrus. It's everywhere! I'd heard this, of course, but until you're walking down the street and see five different kinds of citrus in five different yards on a single block...well you don't quite grasp the range and depth of the citrus bounty. At the farmer's market in Campbell, CA...the choices were too vast to fit in a single photo.

On Wednesday I went to Molly's first grade class where one of our activities was juicing lemons for their upcoming country fair. (William, in action, on the right) I was surprised to see the kids sucking on the rinds after they'd been juiced, but was told these were Meyer lemons, which are sweeter than other lemons.

Friday I moved south to San Jose, where Cayce had gotten a neighbor's permission to pick from his Meyer lemon tree. The fruit was fragrant and oily and the skins were an orange-y yellow, halfway between the color of an orange and a lemon. Our goal was making preserved lemons, something I'd wanted to try for years. Every recipe says this is best with Meyer lemons.

We picked and chose our favorite parts of several recipes, deciding to cut the lemons into pieces rather than leaving them whole. Each sterilized jar got a tablespoon of kosher salt, then we placed layers of lemons, adding salt on top of each layer and pushing down on the fruit to release the juices. We juiced a few additional lemons to top off the jars, and tried a few with a smidge of olive oil on top...just to see.

We ended up with 12 pints, several of which I'll be packing (oh so carefully) into my suitcase tomorrow for the trip back east. They need to sit for 4-6 weeks till the rinds are soft, and most recipes advise turning or shaking the jars once a day for at least the first week.

It is possible there was wine consumed during the preparation of the preserved lemons.


At March 23, 2009 at 10:12 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Preserved lemons are fabulous and I've got several recipes that use them as an ingredient if you're interested! Congrats on the West Coast bounty!

At March 24, 2009 at 3:14 PM , Blogger SaraGardens said...

I'm glad to hear that Meyer lemons can be preserved this way - and wildly envious that yours were fresh off the tree! My mother's aunt had a Meyer lemon tree in her little garden in Laguna Hills, and they are miraculous. (The Moroccan preserved lemons are tiny - I wonder how similar the flavor is to Meyers. And I wonder whether you could do this with limes... too sweet?)

At April 9, 2009 at 12:31 AM , Blogger molly said...

you really kick out the jams where food is concerned, el. wish i could be more like that... someday!


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