pucker up: moroccan preserved lemons, meyer lemon marmalade, meyer lemon sherbet, and candied lemon slices

candied-lemons-on-plate

lemons-in-sinkThe last couple weekends A few weeks ago, I went just a little nuts with the citrus.   I wanted to make sure to take advantage of it before the season is over, so I made no less than four different things out of lemons.  I’m calling it my “Midwest citrusfest”.  It’s finally starting to warm up here, but the lemons were a much-needed burst of sunshine while we wait for the real thing.

preserved-lemon-prep1There’s a condiment I’d been wanting to make for a couple years now and never got around to, but I have no idea why, because the “recipe” is simplicity itself: just lemons and salt.  I’m referring, of course, to Moroccan preserved lemons.  I looked at several sets of instructions, and they were virtually identical: cut the lemon in quarters, but don’t cut all the way through; stuff the lemon with as much salt as it will hold (measurements were given, but unnecessarily so, in my opinion); reshape the lemons and stuff them in a jar.  Some of the recipes said to add additional lemon juice to cover, but others said it was fine to wait a few days; by then, the lemons should release enough of lemons-in-jar-top-view2their own juice.  So now I have a big jar of lemons in some liquid that is starting to take on a slightly viscous, mucus-like appearance.  I’m hoping this is normal.  I have to wait another 2 weeks or so before they’re ready, at which time I plan to make the classic tagine of chicken with preserved lemons and green olives.  Hopefully I will not perish due to botulism or some other form of food poisoning.  Although I cannot imagine any living thing surviving the amount of salt I used.

lemons-on-sill1

My second lemon experiment was Meyer lemon marmalade.  Again, I looked at a couple different recipes, mostly following this one.  Don’t you love it when a recipe says “reduce to 2 tbs” or “reduce by half”… like, how do I know what that looks like? Am I supposed to eyeball what 4 cups looks like?  Or interrupt the cooking marmalade-jarsprocess while I take the the hot liquid out of the pan to measure it?  For this recipe, I actually did just that, since you’re supposed to add an amount of sugar that is equal to your boiled lemon-water mixture.  I followed the cooking instructions but my marmalade never got close to 230º, and after cooking it for 30 minutes, I decided I was done.  I think it could have gone even less time, because my yield was a full 2 jars short of what the recipe said it would be, and the marmalade was very thick.  But, I thought it wasn’t bad for a first effort.  The flavor was a little too sweet for my taste due to being cooked down so much, but I think spread on something like a scone or toast that isn’t sweetened, it’ll be just fine.  The marmalade was also incorporated in my April Daring Bakers challenge, which I can’t reveal until the end of the month for a few more days, but I can tell you was delish. [Update: I am now convinced the thermometer I was using was broken, which explains why my marmalade was overcooked even though it “never got to 230º”.]

lemon-sherbet1

Ever since my sister gave me the Cuisinart ice cream maker for Christmas, I’ve been whipping up lots of frozen treats.  Fruit ices and sorbets are the easiest because you don’t have to do a custard base.   I still had lemons left, so next up was a batch of Meyer lemon sherbet.  I have to pause here and question all the foodie love for Meyer lemons.  I honestly was hard-pressed to taste a difference between the sherbet I made with Meyers, and any other standard lemon ice.  With the marmalade I get it, because regular lemons would have too thick a skin for marmalade.  And the Meyers are pretty juicy, but for the difference in price, I’m just not sold.  Perhaps I need to taste them in a lemonade, or a lemon curd, to fully appreciate their superiority… Anyone else with me on this one, or are my taste buds just not that sophisticated?  Supposedly they’re sweeter than regular lemons, but if you’re adding a bunch of sugar to a recipe, what’s the difference?  In any event, the sherbet tasted like lemons, so I was happy.  I used a recipe out of Chez Panisse Fruit and adapted it a bit- see recipe below.

candied-lemon-crop

candied-lemons-in-pot

lemon-syrup-in-handThe last thing I made with my remaining lemons was candied lemon slices.  These were also utilised in my Daring Bakers challenge.  I used the instructions found here; the only variation I made was to strain and save the syrup in which the lemons are cooked, rather than discarding it.  You can use this syrup in cocktails where simple syrup is called for (as long as the lemon flavor won’t clash), or to sweeten iced tea, or to make lemonade.  Or muddle some mint, add the syrup and some club soda for a nice refreshing bevvie for your teetotaler friends.  I’ve already used mine to drizzle over some berries, to sweeten a smoothie, and for a couple other things including the sherbet recipe below.

I enjoyed my midwest citrusfest, but am definitely looking forward to the fruits of summer!

Meyer Lemon Sherbet (adapted from Chez Panisse Fruit)
(printer-friendly version)
3 cups lemon syrup from the candied lemons you just made (or 1 1/2 cups each sugar & water, heated gently to dissolve sugar)
1 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
1 tbs Microplaned or finely chopped zest
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp gelatin in 2 tbs water*

Directions: Combine syrup, juice, zest and milk. (Don’t worry if milk looks a little curdly; it will be fine once frozen.) Gently heat gelatin mixture until fully dissolved and no longer grainy. Add to other ingredients and refrigerate until cold; then freeze according to the directions of your ice cream maker.

*Note: for those not wanting to use gelatin, you could add a tbs or two of some sort of alcohol (vodka or limoncello, perhaps?) as an anti-freezing agent, or try using half-and-half instead of milk.

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11 responses to “pucker up: moroccan preserved lemons, meyer lemon marmalade, meyer lemon sherbet, and candied lemon slices

  1. informalblathering

    Ooh, how’s that ice cream maker? I’ve been getting into making ice cream lately (just made some with lemon, actually) and am tired of doing it by hand. Meyer lemon marmalade is indeed awesome, too.

    • The ice cream maker is AWESOME and worth every penny (even though I didn’t actually buy it, I would have!). I think they go for about $50 on Amazon. I even scored an extra brand-new freezer bowl at a thrift store for $3.99, so now I can make double batches without having to wait for the bowl to re-freeze!
      By the way, your lemon-blueberry ice cream sounded yummy 🙂

  2. Absolutely stunning photo (dripping lemon slice). I love your post!

  3. Ooooh….this all looks good. My next citrus project is limoncello…or maybe just a big ol’ lemon meringue pie. I don’t think I have the patience to wait for anything to “preserve”…

  4. Hi! I just started reading your blog and couldn’t stop… I even learned a few things! You take beautiful photos and I love the narratives. Everything looks delish! Let us know how those preserved lemons come out… I wonder what it tastes like.. Hmm!

  5. Using the leftover syrup in cocktails etc.. is a GREAT idea. See how i’m not practical sometimes? 🙂 I actually re-used it to make candied kumquats. Yum!

    Love all your creations (and great photography). Bravo Mlle Noelle!

  6. Great Blog.
    Would love to hear how the preserved lemons turn out.
    I used lemon in my DB challenge too- and I considered Lemoncello…( great minds think alike, I guess)

  7. You are certainly enjoying those lemons. I have some lemons preserving right now as well. I like the sound of those candied lemon slices!

  8. Perfect timing! I’m working on some marmalade with oranges picked recently at the farm I work at here in Japan. I used a recipe found on Cooking with Amy because it seemed pretty simple. My canning stuff is all packed up in Michigan, so I’m sort of starting over here. Lemons might be next!

  9. I want a citrusfest too! I’ve pickled pearl onions this weekend, but preserved lemons, hello!!!

  10. Candied Lemon Slices? Reminds me of those Sunkist “fruit” slices! I need to try this out!

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