Sister arrived with a bounty of Meyer lemons in her luggage. Unfortunately, they were worse for wear from the trip, bruised in the luggage or upset with the nearly frozen temperatures in the hold of the plane. I have written about Meyer lemons before, and they are apparently a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange, and hail from China originally. I had asked Sister to bring some as I wanted to make a Meyer lemon pie and maybe some preserved meyer lemons or lemon peel. But with the lemons in bad shape, I needed to use them quick!
I had seen this post several months ago on preserved moroccan lemons by David Lebovitz so I decided to give that recipe a try. My first attempt at preserving lemons simply in salt and lemon juice went very well, and I loved having them in the fridge for months, to be slowly used in tagines, pasta dishes, etc., but I wanted to try something new. Mr. Lebovitz addition of a few spices and the suggested use of Meyer lemons certainly felt like the right recipe to explore…
Detailed descriptions are in the link above, but essentially I washed the lemons, cut off the ends and quartered them without cutting all the way through the lemons. Next we put kosher salt in-between the slices and placed them snugly in a glass jar.
I added a small cinnamon stick, siling labuyo (bird’s eye chilies) and bay leaves and more salt (this time some large crystals of native organic sea salt from ritual) and meyer lemon juice to cover.
Closed the bottle and left them out on the counter for 3-4 days before sticking them in the back of the fridge for another 10 days. They are now ready for use in various dishes, and will keep for many months in the fridge.
We just used some for a chicken tagine and the preserved lemons were absolutely wonderful. Definitely noticeably better than using just plain lemons. And the spices were subtle but apparent. The next time you make preserved lemons, and don’t have Meyer lemons, try this fakeout. Instead of using just lemon juice, use a mixture of half lemon juice and half mandarin orange juice. :)
You may wish to check-out this Gourmet Magazine recipe for pasta with crab meat and preserved lemons, it was fantastic!