Organic Meyer lemons, sweet limes and tangerines all in our little island grocery store, and all at once! The universe was sending me a message, and it’s going to help me find a use for some of those cute jars I bought in a homemade gift container panic at London Drugs before Christmas.
And if you’re going to preserve some citrus, why not push a few boundaries and go exotic?
A little info about our final victim volunteer: the Meyer lemon is most likely a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin orange. Native to China, it was introduced to the United States in 1908 by the agricultural explorer Frank Nicholas Meyer. The fruit has a fragrant edible skin with a slight orange tint when ripe . The Meyer’s juice is sweet and less acidic than its more common cousin — an ideal candidate for salt-curing!
And who doesn’t like a slice of lemon in their gin? Do you see where I’m going here?
To preserve citrus, choose organic, unwaxed varieties that are ripe, firm and unblemished. Mix the spices into the salt. I chose coarse salt — used for pickling and canning — because it’s additive free. Cut a cross into the fruit about ¾ of the way to the base — but not all the way through — the quarters should stay together.
Push the seasoned salt into the quarters and pack the fruit as tightly as possible into an airtight jar. Use as much salt as you need to fill in the gaps, but go easy on the spices. A little goes a long way. I put one juniper berry inside each lemon, and then threw in a couple of extra into the jar. That will be PLENTY.
Store in your fridge for 6 weeks, gently turning and flipping the jar 3 times per week to evenly distribute the salt and juices. Once preserved, the jars can be kept in a cool, dark place (cupboard). Preserved lemons will keep at least 1 year.
- clam chowder with preserved Meyer lemon cream (works with Boston or Manhattan!)
- salt-cured lemon and chili compound butter underneath the skin of a whole roasted chicken
- preserved Meyer lemon Caesar salad dressing…or tzatziki…
- Vodka Soda with salted Meyer lemon/juniper ice.
- steamed new potatoes with fresh herbs and preserved lemon
- sweeet onion relish with salt-cured Meyer lemon