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Preserved Lemons


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259 replies to this topic

#31 Pitter

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 07:11 AM

rgruby, I imagine that your lemons are fine, with all that salt and acidity. If you see no mold, I would not worry. You will not get botulism from the exposed parts -- botulism is anaerobic, growing in the absense of oxygen. For example, garlic cloves submerged in oil and held at room temperature would be a great danger.

#32 fifi

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 08:58 AM

Well... fifi is finally in the picture business.

This is the mystery "orange" tree.

Posted Image

A little closer look.

Posted Image

Some of the little buggers with some leaves. Notice the one in the lower right where some of the peel has come off. That is what I mean by it looking tangerine-like.

Posted Image

This is what they look like when sliced.

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These are my current preserving efforts. The lemons have been going for about two weeks and are starting to develop. The key limes have only been about three days. They are starting to turn more of an army green (can't really tell because of the green jar) but they smell wonderful. The little mystery oranges were just started last night.

Posted Image
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#33 Adam Balic

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 09:14 AM

Your mystery plant looks very much like Citrofortunella microcarpa, which in Australia would be called a 'Kumquat' (although a Kumquat is really Fortunella japonica). It isn't quite a citrus, but very close. Citrofortunella microcarpa = Calamondin Orange.

Information on the Kumquat

Edited by Adam Balic, 26 January 2004 - 09:23 AM.


#34 fifi

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 09:31 AM

After Mayhaw Man's post, I am leaning toward a Calamondin. These things taste nothing like a kumquat and I have grown those. So what in the hell is it doing here? And, according to what I read about Calamondins, this thing should have frozen years ago, or at least frozen back to the point that it wouldn't be this tree thing. I am guessing at the age but it should be at least old enough to have gone through some prolonged periods in the low 20s F.

Adam, thanks for the genus/species information.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#35 Adam Balic

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 09:39 AM

The are a number of different types of kumquat, the round type is most common in Australian gardens (they have very tender thin skins), the more tough, but sweeter elongated for is more commonly sold (the fruit that is) in the UK, but I think your plant is the Calamondin/Panama "Orange". Why you have it growing = you are very lucky. They all make killer marmalade.

#36 fifi

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 09:43 AM

Definitely killer marmalade. We are out of the batch my sister made last year. That was the best I have ever had. When you opened the jar, the aroma hit you in the face.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#37 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 09:49 AM

Fifi,

That looks like a giant version of the ones that you see along the lower gulf coast (where it really never freezes for more than a couple of hours, if at all), the Calomondin variety. They also grow really well as a partial indoor ornamental/fruit.

Lucky you, that thing is beautiful.
Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

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#38 cdh

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 11:10 AM

Lucky you indeed. Beautiful pictures. Any chance of getting a handful of seeds from you? If the things are calamondins, then they're cold hardy up to and including the DC area... was surprised to see a citrus growing in the Dumbarton Oaks gardens, and looked it up, and it was some variety of calamondin. Spikey, though. Is your tree full of thorns?

All this means that I can at least get one going quite well in a large pot and only bring it indoors for December through February.

And here is a snapshot of a handful of my candied limequats. Tiny little things, but soooooooo yummy. Posted Image

Edited by cdh, 26 January 2004 - 11:11 AM.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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#39 fifi

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 12:05 PM

Well, I am not lucky. The easement is lucky. This is nowhere near where I live. It was spotted while driving by and took a bit of a search to figure out how to actually get to it. I am now christening the tree my Confusing Calamondin. :biggrin:

cdh... Those limequats look really cute. I am going to try candying some if I can find them. Any particular tricks to making them come out so pretty? PM me and I will be sure to tell my sister not to cook all of the seeds.

BTW... For purposes of this thread, I am going to extend the meaning of "preserving" in the title past the traditonal use of the word in mediterranean cuisine. We can discuss candying, marmalades, whatever preserves citrus. Where did I hear or see something the other day about using dried tangerine skin in an oriental dish. I looked for it at my Hong Kong Market and couldn't find any so I figure I will have to dry my own. Does anyone know about that?
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#40 cdh

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 01:37 PM

No real trick to the candied limequats, I don't think.

My procedure was:

Put 2 cups sugar and and 1 cup water in pan, and heat until the sugar dissolves into the water.
Wash the limequats, halve them, and throw them into the syrup.
Bring the syrup up to boiling.
Remove the limequats and heat the syrup to 240F.
Add a little tiny bit of cream of tartar.
Throw the limequats in and turn the heat off after about 5 minutes.
Fish the limequats out and spread out on parchment paper.
Sprinkle lots of sugar all over them and toss them around so that they're evenly coated. Voila!

I then candied some ginger in syrup, and now have candied limequats, candied ginger, and syrup that makes a mighty nice ginger ale when you mix it up with some seltzer and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Edited by cdh, 26 January 2004 - 01:38 PM.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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#41 SobaAddict70

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 01:44 PM

the next time you're able to, try making some whole lemon or lime pickles, Indian style. Similar recipe to that of preserved lemons, but with a great deal less salt and many more spices in varying proportions.

Soba

#42 fifi

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 01:51 PM

Oh my... Soba just opened up a whole new can of lemons. :biggrin:

That really sounds good. I will be looking for some of those recipes.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#43 fifi

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 08:42 PM

I apologize. I forgot to answer about the thorns on the tree. On the outer parts of the limbs, where the oranges are, the thorns are small but sharp, less than 1/8 inch. As you go inward toward the woodier parts of the limb, the thorns get a lot larger and more vicious. My sister, who did most of the picking while I was taking the research pictures, :biggrin: is complaining of coming into contact with a nest of crazed civet cats. She was complaining the whole time of the stinging of her wounds while we were processing the things. Oh dear... the torment... the drama... :laugh: I told her that such a sacrifice for marmalade was worth it. I don't think she bought it. Her reaction was pretty much :raz: .
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#44 bleachboy

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Posted 08 February 2004 - 12:49 PM

I recently bought some Meyer lemons and asked a chef here in town what I should do with the excess. He suggested preserving them, and explained how to do it. I also consulted Paula Wolfert's excellent Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco. Both said to cover the lemons with salt.

I covered them completely, but pretty quickly everything settled to the bottom. I've been shaking the jar once a day to redistribute the salt in the lemon juice, but even still some of the lemon sticks out above the lemon juice, and the salt all settles to the bottom.

Are these going to turn out right? If not, what should I have done different?

Posted Image
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#45 McDuff

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Posted 08 February 2004 - 01:00 PM

I made a couple of jars last summer and they look exactly like yours. So much salt that it won't dissolve and at this point, after they got forgotten behind the bread box for months, I won't eat them. Way too scary looking. I looked at a bunch of recipes before I made them and they varied wildly in the amount of salt to use. Don't know what's a happy medium on the salt.

#46 fifi

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Posted 08 February 2004 - 01:02 PM

You are ok. Check out this thread. I included some pictures. It takes a few days for it to all start coming together. When they are "finished" I will be taking some pictures of the slices on a white plate that will hopefully capture the viscosity of the juice. I can't tell if you put a sheet of saran between your jar lid and the liquid. Highly recommended. I use the glass lidded jars (my sister didn't have any and I did the calamondins over there) and just try to remember to turn them upside down every day or so.

edit to add: I updated with pictures here.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#47 Wolfert

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Posted 08 February 2004 - 01:25 PM

I use 1 tablespoon sea or coarse salt for each lemon plus 1 for the jar. -

I'm sure it will turn out okay as long as you really wash each lemon well before using it.

Edited by Wolfert, 08 February 2004 - 01:27 PM.

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

#48 fifi

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Posted 08 February 2004 - 01:38 PM

Update on the lemons and limes. They should probably go a couple more weeks at room temperature. I don't know if you can tell but the lime liquid is thicker than the lemon. It is almost jelly like. The lemon is developing a nice viscous liquid.

Posted Image

The mystery oranges (calamondins) are not quite as far along. There is still a little salt at the bottom of the jar that is recrystalizing and dropping out. I am assuming it is salt. I don't have a microscope to get a good look at the crystal structure. I suppose it could be some other salt like a citrate.

Posted Image

My normal procedure is to put these in the refrigerator after they are "done". Now I am wondering why. With all of the salt and acid they sure aren't going to spoil.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#49 BettyK

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Posted 08 February 2004 - 02:29 PM

You are ok. Check out this thread. I included some pictures. It takes a few days for it to all start coming together. When they are "finished" I will be taking some pictures of the slices on a white plate that will hopefully capture the viscosity of the juice. I can't tell if you put a sheet of saran between your jar lid and the liquid. Highly recommended. I use the glass lidded jars (my sister didn't have any and I did the calamondins over there) and just try to remember to turn them upside down every day or so.

edit to add: I updated with pictures here.

Hey fifi, your link goes to 'incrediby strange cravings' but I think you meant this link. No?

#50 fifi

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Posted 08 February 2004 - 02:37 PM

ARG! You are right. I will fix it. Thanks. I have too many eGullet windows open. :blush:

edit to add: I fixed it in the original but the quote is still wrong and I can't fix that. Oh well.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#51 Suzanne F

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Posted 08 February 2004 - 02:44 PM

FYI: I made some 2 years ago, substituting a sugar for about 1/4 of the salt, topping it up with extra lemon juice, and keeping a weight on the lemons until they settled down of their own accord. I keep them in the fridge, and the last of them are still fine.

#52 Comfort Me

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Posted 09 February 2004 - 08:22 AM

I have a jar on my counter that I made last summer. I used some after a month or so and they were perfect, but I'm afraid now. Is there any way to determine if they are lethal without resorting to eating one?
Aidan

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#53 Modern Day Hermit

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Posted 09 February 2004 - 10:17 AM

I made a jar of lemon preserves very similar about 8 months, only I added additional spices. It will only get better as time goes on. It has been a while so my lemons are a very dark brown and have such a fresh, spicy aroma.

I put my jar out in the sun (during the summer) during the day, it makes the lemons even more tasty. Or, if it happened to be rainy and cold a particular day, I would keep them on top of the fridge.

My FIL makes lemon preserves that are incredible and they are the best when they are BLACK.

I'd say as long as they don't have anything growing on them ;), they are ok.
--Jenn

#54 chefseanbrock

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Posted 09 February 2004 - 12:14 PM

from my experiences the best way to make preserved lemons is in the freezer, i worked with walter bundy for two years as his sous chef, he helped open the french laundry with thomas keller and spent a couple of years there. everything we did at the restaurant was exactlly the way thomas did it.....here is the way thomas does preserved lemons.........

cut the lemons into quarters but not all the way through, just so they open up, add your sugar, salt, spice mixture and let stand at room temp for a few days depending on the temperature in your kitchen.........when you see that alot of the liquid has dissolved, divide them into plastic ziploc bags, i put three or four in each bag, then place them in the freezer, they will continue to preserve in the freezer (the salt and sugar doesn't allow it to freeze..........it usually takes a couple of months, enjoy..........we make an emulsification of the rind for our crab cakes, people love them..............

sean

#55 Wolfert

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Posted 09 February 2004 - 01:22 PM

[quote name='Comfort Me' date='Feb 9 2004, 08:22 AM'] I have a jar on my counter that I made last summer. I used some after a month or so and they were perfect, but I'm afraid now. Is there any way to determine if they are lethal without resorting to eating one? [/quote]
[QUOTE]

If they smell like furniture polish throw them out. If they smell wonderful and lemony they are fine. If you are scared, you can simmer them in water to cover for about 10 minutes to be sure you haven't any strange bacteria lurking around.
I keep my lemons in a cool place or the fridge after I open them. t
“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

#56 bleachboy

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 09:28 PM

I know I don't need to tell you this, but eGullet rocks. Not only did I hear back from the chef who had originally suggested preserving my lemons (chefseanbrock) but also the cookbook author (wolfert) whos recipe I followed. Damn, this place is cool.

I'm sticking with Paula Wolfert's original recipe for now. Next time I see some Meyer lemons for sale, though, I'm going to try Chef Sean Brock's technique. I may well do a head-to-head comparison with trout meuniere. I will report on the results.

I've tasted Chef Sean's crab cakes with preserved meyer lemon coulis, as well as an amuse bouche of shrimp with the same sauce (I believe) -- and yes, it's really, really good. But more complicated than what I normally cook at home.

Any other suggestions for (home) menus involving preserved lemons?
Don Moore
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#57 Mabelline

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 11:53 PM

They are very sly little fruit, bleachboy. Once you start using them, you'll start thinking maybe a little will work in this, or that, and it nearly always does. I put some into green chile pork tonight, and it was really good, and accentuated the tomatillos in the verde.

fifi, I want some of those calamondin sooo bad! And that's just like citrus. Baby one along, hiccup around it one day, and it goes toes up. Leave one be, it'll produce like the furies.

#58 fifi

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 05:54 PM

Update on the mystery tree. On Sunday, my sister and I returned to the tree to get a few more. The nephew requested some for infused vodka. We had used all of the first haul for preserving and for marmalade.

This guy was out walking his dog and stopped to talk after we admired the dog. As it turns out, he was the guy who had planted the tree!!! He called it a "kumquat" but knew that it wasn't what we call a kumquat. A friend had given him a little plant in a beer can in 1991 and he planted it in the little garden that was there before the parking lot was expanded and the fence removed. I told him of my research here and that we had decided they were calamondins and that they are called kumquats in Australia. He gave us some tips for getting to the upper reaches of the tree. (We are bringing nephew's BIG PICK-UP next time.) As it turned out, I had loaded my case of marmalade into the car so we gave him a jar. The tree is starting to put on blooms so another cycle is starting. He says it typically has about three bloom cycles a year.

Now to change the subject.

Now that the limes and calamondins are about done, does anyone have a clue as to what to do with them? About as far as I have gotten with the limes is some obvious rif on the Mageurita with chicken. Change out some ingredients in the typical lemon and white wine approaches to use the limes and a good tequila. I haven't a clue about the calamondins.

Help... Please. :biggrin:
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#59 slbunge

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 06:07 PM

Update on the lemons and limes. They should probably go a couple more weeks at room temperature. I don't know if you can tell but the lime liquid is thicker than the lemon. It is almost jelly like. The lemon is developing a nice viscous liquid.

I just started a batch of preserved meyer lemons over the weekend following a Paula Wolffert recipe for 'seven day' preserved lemons (Gourmet: August, 1994).

Fifi, it seems like you keep yours on the counter much longer. How do I tell that they are getting 'done'? Is it the viscosity of the liquid? The texture of the skin?
Stephen Bunge
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#60 fifi

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 06:18 PM

I dunno... (now that is an intelligent response :biggrin: ) When the peel is uniformly translucent and the liquid has become viscous I consider them "done". Then I leave them a little longer just because, and I have no idea why. I am really wondering why I clutter up my fridge with them at all. I have just always done that because that is what the recipes say. They sure won't "spoil" with all of that acid and salt. Maybe they just continue to break down or something but then maybe they just get better. I am doubting that they are refrigerated where they are an indigenous ingredient. I mean, wouldn't the salting have started as a preservation technique in the first place? And they are called preserved after all.

Paula... Where are you?
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose