I wanted to report on another food project I did this spring: preserved lemons. These are a tradition in Morocco and other places (my Lebanese cookbook has a recipe). I've been wanting to try them and when we visited Mesa, AZ this April I had my chance: the last of the citrus was on and some neighbors of in-laws had a tree that was burgeoning with more fruit than they could use. So my older daughter and I went and picked huge lemons and grapefruits. I'm really getting spoiled for fruit: I don't want to buy lemons or grapefruits from stores any more either.
Anyway, I took some pictures. Here are some of the lemons:
|Some of the smallest ones - barely fit four in this jar|
The juice - lovely salty sourness - is excellent for hummus and guacamole. The peel gets really soft and is easy to mince, crush and grind, and I like to put it in dressings and sauces, though I'm still getting used to the flavor.
Also in Arizona I picked a bunch of little ornamental oranges from my in-laws' tree. They're sour and not very juicy, but while we were staying there I found that their juice made a wonderful pasta sauce with olive oil and garlic. So I decided to preserve some of them in salt too.
|The mini oranges - on the table you can see bits of cloves from some pomander balls I also made that day (I must not have done them right because they went bad - the pomander balls I mean).|
|Packing them in salt|
|Trying to squish them down so they'd be covered in juice|
|The two fruits in their jars ready to cure, with more lemons in the background|
The preserved mini-oranges combine the tangy complexity of orange peel flavor with intense saltiness, bringing a surprising bright taste to savory dishes. It's not something I'm used to but it''s delicious. I particularly like to use them in peanut sauces.
I don't know if we'll go to AZ again next spring, so in case we don't I might have to pay for family to pick and send more fruit.