14 August 2011

Lemons...

One good thing about winter is citrus and this year one of my lemon trees is almost buckling under the abundance of lemons.  I am not sure what variety as the tree was here when I moved in, however they are some of the juiciest, sweetest lemons I have ever had.  So much more appealing than the almost under ripe and hard little lemons available in most supermarkets, plus I am safe in the knowledge that they have not come across any chemicals, so are essentially organic.


I love lemons.  A little zest can lift and brighten just about anything and that is especially welcome in winter.  Not that we can complain, except for a few weeks of just above zero degrees it has been pretty mild.  Though I am told that we are in for a severe cold snap tomorrow and that looks likely to be true with snow falling in the South Island.....brrrrr!

And to have a jarful of lemons on hand throughout the year I always have a big jar of preserved lemons on hand.  These are especially good with any Moroccan or North African dishes or stirred through couscous.  They add a lovely fragrant, intensely lemony flavour.  They are also incredibly simple to make so go and grab some lemons now while they are in season and cheap and get preserving.


Preserved Lemons

Makes one large jar

Ingredients

10-12 unwaxed lemons
10-12 tbsp sea salt
Freshly squeezed juice of 4-5 lemons
2 bay leaves
Olive oil, to top up

Plus one large sterilised jar

Directions

Wash and dry the lemons.  Stand each lemon on one end and cut as if you were cutting it in to quarters, but keep the base intact and don't cut all the way through.  Gentle splay the quarters and stuff each lemon with a tablespoon of salt and then squeeze back together.

Place the lemons in to the large jar, seal and leave them in a cool place for 3 to 4 days to soften the skins.  Over the 3 to 4 days the lemons will also start to release some of their juice.  After this push down the lemons so that they are tightly packed and add the lemon juice and bay leaves.  The lemons should be completely covered.  So either add more lemon juice or top with olive oil to ensure that they are.  Seal the jar and store in a cool place for at least a month.

Before using the preserved lemons wash of all the salt and remove the flesh.  It is the fragrant skins that you will be using.

Post making these delicious cookies I was left with some egg yolks.  With lemon and egg yolks to hand there is only one option...lemon curd.  Who doesn't love lemon curd?  Especially homemade lemon curd on a hot buttered crumpet!  Homemade in this instance just so much superior to anything you can buy which I usually find nowhere near lemony enough and almost always too sweet.  For this I returned to the Glasgow Cookery Book and was relieved to find that butter replaced the margarine!  I also reduced the sugar to 100g as I like a tart lemon curd that allows the lemon to burst through.

Lemon Curd

Ingredients

50g butter
2 lemons, zest and juice
150g sugar
4 egg yolks

Directions

Melt the butter in a double boiler and add the lemon zest.  Next add the lemon juice and egg yolks.  Stir over the heat until the curd thickens.  Once thickened place in sterilised jars.  Toast some crumpets, slather in butter and top with a generous helping of lemon curd.



On a toasted crumpet, the edges well toasted and crunch, melted butter oozing through all the little air bubbles, tangy lemon curd.  A perfect morning tea as I await the cold snap...which those windy southerlies are blowing our way.
iPhone

Camera
If you like this you'll like this - Lemon Meringue Pie
Last Year - Road trip North

Enjoy!

18 comments:

  1. I am envious of your lemon tree! I've always wanted to make preserved lemons and you've inspired me. LOVE lemon curd...actually, love anything lemon, but especially curd. These are beautiful photos!

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  2. Lemon tree, lucky you! I've got a small one that we planted this year but I have a feeling it'll be a long long time before it actually gives us anything.
    I love preserved lemons - have to stop myself from eating them straight out of the jar :)

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  3. I'd love to have my own lemon tree one day. But for now, I make nighttime stealth trips out to the back of the garden and 'borrow' some off my landlady's lemon tree. ;))) (I live in the bottom flat of my landlord's property).

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  4. I adore adore lemons! This year I've had the best supply of citrus fruit from a friend of mine who's family used to be one of the best citrus growers in NSW! Yum that crumpet with lemon curd looks so tasty!

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  5. Love your photos! I looooove lemons. Your lemon curd looks delicious!

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  6. Excellent use of lemons! It bugs the hell out of me, driving around town, seeing tree after tree laden with lemons, just sitting there unpicked & eventually rotting. I feel a need to engage in some night raiding, if only to bolster my supply of lemon curd!

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  7. Haha I'm with you Nigel. We actually go knocking on doors and ask for some if we see them just going to waste. Most people are more than happy to give them away :-)
    We have a little lemon tree in our backyard (yay!) but used them all up within a few weeks of them being ripe. Never fear, pretty much every house surrounding us has (seriously) huge laden trees. Such a great year for citrus... but bummer that it means next year won't be. So make the most of it while you can!

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  8. @Hannah Thanks Hannah, yes love lemons,,,,they just brighten everything :)

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  9. @hungryandfrozen Laura, I hope it fruits quicker than the mandarin plant I planted!

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  10. @Sugar and Spice I do the same with the neighbour's lime tree ;)

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  11. @MariaThanks Maria, yes it had to be crumpets with the lemon curd :)

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  12. @Nigel Olsen Me too...what a waste! I will hopefully be able to raid one of my neighbour's grapefruit trees this weekend.

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  13. @Emma Galloway I am lucky as I have 2 trees & they seem to take alternate years producing heaps of lemons :)

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  14. Glad to see you like your lemon curd on crumpets too!

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  15. Hi Mairi! I made a smaller portion of your lemon curd today. It made my morning!

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  16. @Mel Thanks Mel, glad you liked it :) And just found your blog too...and that looks like pretty good lemon curd!

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