YumYum Divas YumYum Recipes: Preserved Lemons & Limes, contributed by TwinLakesChef

Recipe Title: Preserved Lemons & Limes

Contributed by: TwinLakesChef

Note from the Diva
You may never prepare a North African dish such as a Moroccan tagine (stew) - or, then again, you might - after tasting these delightful flavors.

Either way, preserved lemons (the classic) and preserved limes may be used in lots of ways. The sharpness of the citrus disappears upon curing, leaving a mellow sourness and translucent peel.

Use the peel alone (scrape off the pulp) or use the pulp as well - and the juices, too! Rinse the pieces, then chop and add to sauces or salad dressings, vegetable salads, dishes made with potatoes, pasta or rice, or just rub the chopped citrus into whatever you plan to grill... Your imagination will reveal myriad possibilities... besides, they look great in the refrigerator!

List of Ingredients
Preserved Lemons
for each pint, you’ll need:

3-4 medium-size lemons (or just use the number of lemons you need to fill the jar you have on hand.) Meyer lemons may be used, or Eureka or Lisbon (regular kind) lemons

Kosher salt

fresh lemon juice
(optional additions below)

* A round-shaped jar may accommodate round lemons better than a tall jar

Preserved Limes
you’ll need:

limes
Kosher salt
fresh ginger
serrano chiles

Preparation
Preserved Lemons
Scrub the lemons well (removing any wax coating), rinse and dry. Cut a thin slice off the stem end (so the lemon will stand without tipping) then, cutting downward from the blossom end, slice the lemon into 4 wedges - stopping about 1/2 to 3/4-inch above the base (stem) end, so that the lemon segments will remain attached. [If desired, you may gently spread the wedges open, and cut each section in half once more, lengthwise - again leaving the slices attached at the base.]

Sprinkle the pulp generously with Kosher salt. Press the lemons back into their original lemon shape, and place them in a clean, dry jar. Repeat with more lemons until the jar is almost filled when the fruit is pressed down firmly. Pour in enough fresh lemon juice to cover the lemons by about 1/2 inch. [Note: some cooks cover the salted lemons with water instead of juice, but the flavor is less-intense; some cooks do not add any liquid, but press down on the lemons daily, and allow the natural juices to gradually be released and rise in the jar.]

Cover the jar - but not airtight - until fermentation has completed. Place the jar in the refrigerator or in a cool spot in your kitchen. Shake or jiggle the jar every day to dissolve the salt.

After about a week, the lemons will plump and it may be necessary to add more fresh juice to keep them covered.

After the salt has dissolved (about one week), pour a 1/4-inch layer of olive oil over the lemons and their liquid. This (optional step) will keep out air and prevents the formation of any white film or mold. At this time, if the lemons were not refrigerated before, refrigerate them for safest storage. They’ll keep for months.

Lemons are ready to use when the peel has become translucent, which may happen in only a week or two - but they are best when allowed to ferment at least one month before using.

TipsIf the flavor or color - or fragrance - changes noticeably over time, discard the lemons and make a new batch. Expect the liquid in the jar to thicken and smell richly of lemon. If a white film appears on the lemons, it may be simply rinsed off. Be sure to keep the lemons submerged in liquid at all times. Do not put your fingers in the brine; instead, retrieve lemons with a clean instrument.

Optional You may add to the lemons during fermentation:
cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, whole coriander seeds, whole
peppercorns, whole Turkish (not California) bay leaves....

Preserved Limes
Cut the limes into quarters from stem end to blossom end - the wedges do not remain attached. Then, cut each wedge cross-wise in half. You have 8 small pieces from each lime. Cut the fresh ginger and serrano chiles (seeded) into small julienne strips (peel the ginger if the peel is thick - or if you plan to use the ginger in cooking, otherwise, you may leave the peel on).
Roll the lime pieces in Kosher salt to cover generously, and begin to layer the salted pieces in a clean, dry jar. Between each layer, sprinkle generously some julienne strips of ginger and chiles. Whenthe jar is nearly full, add 1/2 to 1 cup of fresh lime juice (or enough to cover the lime pieces). Cover the jar with cheesecloth or other material (not airtight) and allow to ferment and develop flavor for as long as you can resist eating them - at minimum, 2-3 weeks. For the first week or two, until fermentation is complete, the limes may be held at cool room temperature, but cover and refrigerate them for
longer storage - they’ll keep for months. [Tips for lemons, above, also apply to limes.]

Cookbook Category
Condiments

General Cooking/Prep Method
Brining

Recipe Type - Categories
Food Preservation Methods
Gifts From the Kitchen

Extra Features of Recipe
7 Ingredients or Less
Difficulty Level-Moderate

Tested & Approved Recipe
Yes!

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