Sometimes taking care of food is like taking in a lost kitten. It got below freezing here last week and I went around rescuing lemons by the bucketful. As a miser in good standing, and the president of penny pincher anonymous, I believe letting fruit die on the tree earns you a special kind of hell. Somewhere in the world there are pirates dying of scurvy while my children play in vitamin C.
Of course letting it die in your fridge and pantry is perfectly ok.
I invited (begged) my sister Liz to come up and help me process all my orphaned lemons. In an unprecedented move, I ended up letting her do all the work while I helped...some. "We" made enough marmalade and lemon curd to potentially use them as Christmas presents.
I did however make preserved lemons all on my own, but I somehow exploded a glass jar with my mind powers and in the process ruined eight lemons. Eight lemons. Horrifying. My soul is consumed with guilt.
I didn't have any idea what preserved lemons were or what you do with them, but since it included copious amounts of salt, I couldn't resist. Turns out it's a North African thing... Morrocan in particular, and they're basically lemon pickles. You use them in marinades, salad dressings, chicken, lamb and seafood. They're so easy to make and such a nice way of using up extra lemons.
Step 1: Wash lemons and sterilize your jar(s)
Step 2: Cut a dime sized plug on each end of the lemon.
Step 3: Cut four slits (like you're going to cut the lemon in quarters, but don't go all the way through)
Step 4: Stuff all the cracks with salt. (at this point, I probably could have started snacking on them, but I resisted)
Step 5: Stuff them into jars, pressing down so you squeeze the liquid out (you want the lemons to pickle in their own juice). Add extra lemon juice if pressing them in the jar doesn't release enough to cover the rinds.
Step 6: Screw on the lids and put them in a cupboard somewhere to pickle for the next 4-6 weeks. After opening, make sure you keep the opened jar in the fridge.
I can't wait till they're done, my mouth is watering to try some of these recipes.