Anthony: Lemons. Everywhere. Oval drops of sunshine hanging in thick green leaves and armor-piercing thorns. What to do? Lemon curd. Moroccan preserved lemons. Concentrate for summer strawberry lemonade. So many lemons, so many options, so much bounty!
Rachel: For the record, Anthony brought me the crate full of lemons. One of the blessings and curses of putting up food is that it demands your attention now. Sometimes you can plan for it, and other times it shows up in a crate on my counter. The curse is that sometimes it doesn’t fit as nicely into the schedule as you’d have liked; the blessing is that you end up with all this wonderful preserved food. Either way, you’re left with blessing.
Source: Sunset, “Gifts From Your Kitchen.”
Lemon curd is that treat you can’t not like if you like lemon. If you haven’t had it, the best way to describe it would be lemon pudding, very rich lemon pudding. It goes great with scones; I put it in baked tart shells and top with seasonal fruit. You could use it for the filling between cake layers, or as some people we know, just get a spoon, hunker down in a corner away from onlooking relatives, and eat it straight from the jar There are lots of lemon curd recipes out there; this is one that can be water-bath canned; the best eating quality with this method best is within three months. To extend the shelf life a little longer, you can freeze it instead.
- 4 tsp grated lemon zest – you want just the rind, and not the pith underneath. (A microplane is an excellent tool for zesting citrus.)
- 2/3 cup lemon juice
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
Combine lemon peel, lemon juice, eggs and sugar in a blender or food processor. Whirl until blended. With blender on lowest speed, gradually add butter in a thin stream. Transfer mixture to a small heavy pan. Cook over low to medium heat , stirring constantly until the mixture is thick enough to mound slightly when it drops from a spoon (6-8 minutes). Fill 1/2 pint sized jars and seal or freeze. Yield: 3 cups.
Hank Shaw, one of our favorite food bloggers, is my source once again, this time for preserved lemons. I scoured the internet for preserved lemon recipes, specifically Moroccan style preserved lemons; the best source I found was Hank’s blog. I enjoyed his description of the many ways that preserved lemons have been used in various cultures for a very long time. It’s a fun read. At the bottom are three recipes, one for Russian preserved lemons, one for what he calls Moroccan or American style preserved lemons, and one for Indian style lemons.
I did his Russian style and Moroccan style preserved lemons. The Russian style is extremely easy – just shove several lemons in a jar and cover with brine. The Moroccan style lemons are also fairly simple. It’s now been two weeks since I put them up, and those in the fridge taste wonderful. I can’t wait to try cooking with them.