The condiment “preserved lemon”—lemons brined (or pickled) in salt and spices, and then allowed to ferment/ripen for many weeks (or months)—is widely used in Moroccan, Indian and North Africa cuisine. And since I have Ponderosa lemons growing on my property, and that I love sweet and sour combinations, I decided to create my own concoction for preserving lemons; I added the molasses flavor that comes from brown sugar.
About Ponderosa Lemons (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia): “The Ponderosa lemon is a citrus species. It bears medium to large fruit that have a thick and bumpy rind. The fruit can be used in place of true lemons, and there is enough juice for several lemon pies in just one large Ponderosa lemon. They can replace lemons measure for measure in recipes.” And the fruit can grow to the size of a toy football!
At this very moment, in my fridge, I have two large jars of Ponderosa Lemons ripening/fermenting in a salt and brown-sugar mixture, and I just can’t wait to hurry up and post my next blog, in which I will share my latest recipe. I am literally salivating here, imagining the explosion of flavors that most assuredly will come about!
Come; take a comfortable seat at our cozy table. Dinner is served!
You will need 2 large jars (each of 8 cups capacity) with tight seal.
Note: This recipe can easily be halved. You can also substitute the Ponderosa lemons for any lemon of your personal taste.
4 ponderosa lemons, washed and dried, ends trimmed and discarded, and sliced into [roughly] 1/4-inch thickness
1 cup golden-brown sugar, packed, divided
1 cup sea salt or gray salt, divided
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
8 whole cloves
Juice of 2 large and heavy lemons (seeded if there are seeds), divided
- Pack the equivalent of 1 lemon into each jar, and pack down with a spoon (this will help to release some of the lemon’s juices)
- Into each jar sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup salt, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 bay leaf, 4 cloves
- Add the rest of the sliced lemons, dividing equally between the 2 jars
- Add the remainder of the sugar and salt, dividing equally between the 2 jars, and pack down again
- Equally divide the juice of the 2 lemons between the 2 jars, cover tightly
- Place the jars of the preserving Ponderosa Lemons in a cool and shaded part of your kitchen counter for 1 month to allow flavors to ripen, and turn the jars upside-down (shaking gently) everyday. After which time you can put in the back of your fridge. (Lemons should keep for about 1 year.)
- To use these delicious sweet-and-tart lemons, I recommend a light rinse under running water. How much of the salt you rinse depends on how much salt you want or need in the recipe they are being used for.
Note: My personal recipe for using these preserved lemons will follow in due course. In the meantime, you should begin preparing your lemons, so that they will have time to ripen/ferment to tasty perfection.
Recipe’s Hint: My recipe idea that will include my preserving Ponderosa lemons will involve chicken!
Cook with heart; eat with gusto. Buen Provecho!