Cherimoya Recipe: Preserved Lemons
CHERIMOYA FOOD —DECEMBER ’16 FEATURE
Preserving fruits—a wonderful exercise in getting back in touch with the roots of our food culture, by culturing foods! Spring is around the corner in the northern hemisphere, and our citrus trees—especially the fragrant and floral Meyer lemon—are burdened heavy with plump fruits. No better way to enjoy the sweet and bright flavor of the Meyers all year round than to borrow some culture from northern Africa and make some preserved lemons. They are much simpler than you think, and you can have a year’s supply done in an hour, from pick to pickle. Make succulent Moroccan tagines with them, spread them on toast, add them to dips or tapenades and they impart an extremely versatile and unique flavor.
You will need:
Very ripe lemons of choice (roughly 5 per pint jar)
Sea salt or other quality salt (about 1/3 cup per pint jar)
1 cinnamon stick per jar
2 bay leaves per jar
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns per jar
Mason jars, sterilized with boiling water
Wash your lemons well to ensure no bacteria will interfere with the preservation. Slice off the stem end, then slice into quarters, keeping the bottom intact, not cut all the way through. Stuff a few small spoons of salt into each lemon, no need to be pedantic about the quantity. Press each one into the jar, squishing it down quite firmly and releasing most of its juices. Halfway through, nestle your cinnamon stick, bay leaves and black peppercorns in there. Repeat the lemon process until the jar is full. You want all the lemons to be submerged in lemon juice, so depending on how juicy your lemons are you may need the extra juice of another lemon or two. In order to keep them submerged when you put the lid on, I like to place a few especially selected stones on top to press them down. Lid the jars and let them sit in a cool dark place for at least three weeks, but the longer the better, so that the rinds can soften further. Refrigerate once opened, and you are good for six months or more!
Recipe and photography by Megan McCulloch
CHERIMOYA: A collection of creative food-projects ranging from private chef and catering services, to medicinal food, to cross pollination of food with other art forms.