I am enjoying a glut of Meyer lemons from the container tree on my deck. This is a common situation in California when many homes have backyard trees. I hate to waste them and am always looking for new ways to preserve the bounty. These lemons are small (probably because the tree is root bound…it has been in the same half wine barrel for 5 years) but very numerous. And the tree is in flower again (Meyer lemon trees will produce almost all year-long) I want to send the tree’s energy to the new maturing lemons, so I harvested most of them. Starting in March I will trim out the middle branches to let in more light and fertilize it. But I don’t necessarily want to encourage a lot of new growth right now in case we get a freeze.
The next question is always, what to do with them? They won’t last forever. I already have several jars of salted preserved lemons in the pantry, so I didn’t want to do that again. I use them for salad dressing instead of vinegar but there are still a lot left in the bowl.
So, I decided to do something new and make lemon confit with some of them, candy a few, and with the rest make an Indian Lemon Fermented Pickle. I’ve made a version of the lemon pickle before, but this one looked easier and a little different.
You don’t have to use Meyer lemons for these recipes, regular grocery store lemons will work as well. However, try to buy organic ones without the wax coating. If you don’t have any choice, be sure and scrub them well in warm water to remove the wax.
All three of these would make good holiday gifting.
Meyer Lemon Confit
Wash and dry your lemons (as many as you want), slice them about 1/4 inch thick and remove any seeds, add them to a saucepan. Cover with olive oil and bring to a slow simmer. Turn down the heat (you should only see a bubble rise now and then) and simmer them on the low heat for 60 to 90 minutes. Cool and put them in clean jars, cover with the lemon olive oil. You can use the lemon infused oil in salads or for finishing vegetables, pulse the slices with the oil to make a lovely super lemony salad dressing, top fish or chicken with the slices before baking, marinate fish or chicken with chopped lemons and the oil, a multitude of uses.
These are some turkey legs that I will sous vide for turkey confit.
Candied Meyer Lemon Slices
- Slice several Meyer lemons thinly, removing any seeds.
- Combine 1 cup of water with 1 cup of cane sugar in a saucepan, bring to a boil.
- Add the lemon slices and turn down the heat to a slow simmer.
- Simmer until the edges turn translucent, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove to a parchment or wax paper lined pan and allow to cool.
And the uses are numerous! Use them to sweeten your tea, add them to muffins when baking, top a lemon tea cake with a few slices, and what about adding a slice to your cocktail? It makes an amazing lemon drop. The lemon syrup can be strained and used in cocktails, glaze a chicken or fish, make a version of lemonade with mineral or soda water…
A couple of years ago I made fermented Meyer lemon pickles with Indian 5-spices. I wanted something slightly simpler this year. I found the recipe for Spiced Indian Fermented Pickles on the blog Fermenting for Foodies.
Spiced Indian Fermented Meyer Lemon Pickle
- 1 lb. of lemons
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp fenugreek powder or 1/2 tsp whole seeds (see note 1)
- 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons sunflower or canola oil
- Wash the lemons well, removing any wax coating if necessary.
- Add them to a saucepan with the turmeric and cover with water. Slowly bring to a boil and simmer for 8 minutes.
- Drain well and allow to cool, then cut each lemon into 6-8 wedges, depending on size. Remove any seeds. Do this over a bowl as they may be very juicy.
- Sprinkle the lemons with salt and pack into a sterilized jar with a tight-fitting lid. A 1 quart canning jar is perfect.
- Allow to ferment at room temperature for a week, turning the jar over every day.
- After a week (a few days extra won’t hurt), toast the spices.
- Add the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds to a dry skillet (I use a small cast iron one) and heat until you start to smell the spices and they turn slightly brown. Add the chili powder to the skillet and toss together. Remove from the heat immediately (the chili powder will easily burn).
- Once cool, grind the spices in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
- Put the lemons in a bowl, add the spices and toss to mix.
- Add them back into the fermenting jar and cover with the oil.
- Store in the fridge. They will keep for 6 months.
Note 1: If you are using fenugreek powder, add it with the chili powder.
Serve with rice and yogurt or with any food that needs a flavor boost.
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I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving.