Sunday, April 10, 2011

Preserving Mayer Lemons

As every good Mexican, I love limes! I put lime juice on pretty much everything, limes are wonderful.
I have now discovered Meyer lemons and I have to say, there is something really special about them, they are tart yet sweet and their peel is almost as good as the juice. They are delicious.
 I also have an abundance of them so I'm always looking for new recipes.

Mayer lemons (Citrus × meyeri) is a citrus fruit native to China thought to be a cross between a true lemon and either a mandarin or common orange.
It is great to have such an abundance of this wonderful fruit but I needed to figure out how to preserve it. I looked up recipes for mayer lemon preserving and found a few, I'm trying them all.

I'm starting with Limoncello, I have done this before and it is pretty easy, it also makes for great conversation when shared with friends. Peel the lemons and add the peels to the vodka, let it sit for about 40 days in a dark area and enjoy with simple syrup. I hope this one will be ready for my friend Juan's wedding. 

I made two types, I added mint leaves to one and scented geranium to the other for a more herbal flavor

it is also a good reuse for tequila bottles...

So now the question is what to do with all this left over lemons with no peel.

Lemon Jam!

You have to completely take out the white part to avoid bitterness and add other lemons with peel for flavor. Just take off the ends and cut them in very fine slices.

Mix that with sugar and cook at low heat. I added ginger slices too.
Let it simmer until it looks cooked

And jar them

It's great on toast

I also did some Moroccan lemon preserves, which is kind of like pickling them. To make the preserves the lemons get cut in 4 (like a cross from top) but not all the way and then stuff them with sea salt. They are placed on a glass jar and covered with lemon juice. They do not get boiled on the jars, they will ferment and the jars need to be opened every week or so to allow the air to get out. It is hard to know at first if it is working or not because they are fermenting and it seems as if things are not working but if you are patient and wait two months your lemons will be ready. I made a few jars with different spices, chili peepers, bay leaves, coriander, cinnamon.

Once the are ready I chop them up small and use them in pasta or to marinate fish or chicken. 
They will last all year on the jars, no need to refrigerate,

Another way to preserve lemons, which I learned today from a client, is juicing them and putting the juice on ice trays to freeze, and then keeping the cubes on a freezer bag. That way  the cubes can be thawed and used whenever they are necessary.

Take advantage of the lemon abundance now by preserving them and enjoy them all year.
Good luck and send me some more recipes if you have them.

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