One thing that I've always used to help fight back against colds is hot tea with a dollop of honey and a squeeze of lemon juice or perhaps apple cider vinegar, just depending on what is on hand. It is not often in the winter that I stock lemons, and so when I saw this recipe for preserved lemons, I immediately placed lemons on my grocery list for the week, and intended to try this out. This way, I'll ALWAYS have lemons on hand, ready for that cup of hot tea in a jiffy!
I found the recipe for the Preserved Lemons from Shaye Elliot's book "From Scratch" (which, by the way, is an amazing book!). Here's how I made them...
First off, you want to scrub the lemon skin really well, because you will be preserving the entire lemon. It is best if you can use organic lemons. I couldn't find any organic lemons in my local market, so I went with what I could find.
Take the lemons, and slice them up, and then quarter each slice. Place the lemons in a bowl.
Add 3 Tbsp sea salt, 3 cinnamon sticks, and a pinch of whole cloves.
Now comes the fun part. Take your lemons, and add them to a clean quart-size jar. Pack the lemon mixture in tightly, pressing down with a spoon to squeeze out as much juice from them as possible.
Here you can see the juices being released from the lemons.
You will need the juice from an additional 2-3 lemons poured over the lemons in order to completely cover the lemons in juice. Leave at least 1-inch of head space to allow for expansion during fermentation.
Once you have the lemons compacted as tightly as possible, and covered in lemon juice, screw the lid on the jar and set on your counter. Once a day, turn the jar upside down, and back upright again to move things around a bit. Let it sit on your counter for about two weeks until the lemons have fermented and are bubbly.
After the lemons have fermented, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. Now your preserved lemons can be used in any recipe calling for lemon juice, zest or peel... and for sure in that wonderful steaming mug of hot lemon tea!
I am waiting for my lemons to finish fermenting, and can't wait for my very first cup of hot lemon tea :)
If you would like to print off the recipe for the lemon preserves, here it is:
7 organic lemons (divided)
3 Tbsp sea salt
3 cinnamon sticks (optional)
Pinch of cloves (optional)
Cut 5 lemons into thin slices, and then quarter the slices and transfer to bowl. Add in the sea salt, cinnamon and cloves. Stir to mix together. Scoop lemons into a clean wide-mouth quart-size jar. Smooch the lemons down with a spoon to release the juices. Keep squishing until all the lemons fit. Squeeze the remaining lemons to release their juice. Pour the juice over the lemons just enough to cover the lemons, leaving 1" head space to allow for fermentation. Screw the lid on the jar. Allow the jar to sit on your counter for about two weeks, turning upside down, and upright again once a day. Once fermentation takes place, the lemons will look bubbly. After fermentation, transfer the jar of lemons to your refrigerator and use in any recipe calling for lemon juice, zest, or peel... or in a cup of hot honey lemon tea!