Backyard Lemons - Quick Preserved with Sea Salt

January 27, 2014

I've been looking forward to seeing all of you, and the pantry party is such an added bonus!  It always gives a boost to my daily cooking.  All those tasty little sauces, jams, spice mixes, and treats you provide add just the right zip and zing to anything we already have on the regular menu.  Those little extras take time and planning, so I rarely have anything like them on hand, but your gifts are typically the star of the show, adding so much interest.

A week or so ago, in my ongoing "lack of imagination for what to cook" doldrum, I was wondering what I could possibly conjure for the pantry party that would be up to par for such a lovely, talented group.  I'm not really ever hoping to impress, just send a little kitchen love to some of my favorite people!  My lingering question to the kitchen elves was answered one morning at school drop-off when my friend flagged me down in the parking lot, opened my car door, and put an overflowing crate of her lemons in my back seat.  I love lemons.  I hate expensive, wax-laden, store bought lemons.  A crate full of basically organic, juicy, seedless, thin-pithed, wax-free, backyard lemons...that's a whole lotta' kitchen love right there without doing anything to them (except providing a thorough scrub!)

  ​I've never preserved lemons before, but I wanted a quick method so you do not have to wait long to enjoy them.  I saw a Mark Bittman recipe in which he slices them, but he used sugar. Instead, I sliced, sea salted, covered them in their juice, and vacuum packed for 24 hours, then put them in your jars to sit out.  They should be ready to use.  Leave them on the counter if you want them softer/mellower as this variety is a bit bitter.  Store in the fridge to keep for a while.
They are very very very very very salty!  Use them to season foods and hold the salt otherwise.  You can rinse them if you want.
- Any of these recipes - citrus chicken and lemon basil semifreddo...
- Cook with your grains or lentils to scent them with lemon.
 - Chop and add to -
Salad or salad dressing...try them in a Caesar dressing or an herbed vinaigrette...which would also be good over some crispy roasted potatoes
Grain salads...such as Quinoa Tabbouleh
Lentil and bean salads...try chickpeas or fava beans with onion, parsley, tomato
Veggies...grilled, steamed, or quick sauteed...maybe asparagus, broccoli, or green beans
Pasta....simple with olive oil, roasted garlic and maybe some grilled shrimp or chicken
Poached or grilled fish....wild salmon with capers
Dips and spreads...guacamole, hummus, salsas

Fingers crossed they came out right for you!
xoxo, Paula


  1. Thanks for all the ideas, Paula. I can't decide which one to try...

  2. You really went above and beyond. Thank you.