Citrus season is coming to a close soon! I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of what I wanted to do with citrus this year. When I lived in California, there was an abundance of local citrus in your face all the times, so it was hard not to be absorbed into it. And by the end of the season, you were ready for stone fruits and berries galore! For some reason, in Colorado, I feel like the season is more fleeting - almost an after thought. Ugh - I hate that! Because I love good, juicy citrus and all it has to offer.
I was reminded of the great benefits of citrus last week when I went to my monthly Denver Medicinal Plant Society Meeting. Specifically, we were discussing bitters and their benefits and in doing so, we got to sample some homemade Limoncello. Limoncello is a digestive that is traditionally used in Italy as an after dinner bevie to help aid digestion -- and it is the bitterness in the pith and oils that help do that. We got to sample a little homemade Limoncello, which went down way too easily, we started talking about other lemon products that are also delicious and can beneficial to our health -- enter preserved lemons!!
Before our meeting, I totally forgot about how much I love preserved lemons. I first made a batch several years ago and it lasted, what felt like, forever. I added little pieces of lemon to my chicken, rice, farro, and salads to help give it a briny, bright bite.
Not to mention, they are SO easy to make. You need a jar, some meyer lemons, and salt - that's it! You can add in a bay leaf, some rosemary, or peppercorns for a little more flavor, but to keep it simple, you just need salt and lemons.
Some notes: I used Meyer Lemons. They are one of my favorites and have a short season. Their peak is mid-end November until about March. Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin. The skin is a little thinner and edible (less pithy for sure) and the taste is a little sweeter. There are plenty of people who use traditional lemons for this recipe - I have not - but if you do please let me know how they turn out!
- 1 pound meyer lemons
- coarse sea salt
I hope you try this! It is a great way to save a little bit of citrus season all year long. I also say an idea to use the rind in a gin and tonic in place of a lime -- summer is calling!