Tired of Baking? Preserve Some Lemons

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If you are like many and are tired of baking while quarantining (including eating too many brownies), consider preserving lemons. And while you are at it, make some citrus salt as well. Both are so easy and will make you look like a regular Martha Stewart next time you visit friends and bring a hostess gift (have faith – that will happen again).

You don’t need to go the bottom for this recipe — it’s that easy. You need lemons, salt and jars. Kosher salt works best. If you have a lemon tree, harvest them when they are nice and yellow – normally in January in Florida. Otherwise, head to Costco and buy a couple of bags.

After you bring the lemons in, make sure you wash them good with a soft brush. Rinse and dry off.

After you washed and dried the lemons off, admire them.

Cut the ends off each lemon.

Cut the lemon in quarters, but not all the way down to the end.

Take a tablespoon of kosher salt and pour it over the top of the lemon.

It gets a lot easier from here. Pull out your jar and push the whole lemon into the jar. Fill it up with lemons, adding a teaspoon of salt to each round. Add another tablespoon to the top. You don’t need to add any liquid.

Close the top. I used jars I had from Napa Style back in the day with a rubber seal.

That’s it. Put them in a cool dry place and forget about them for a few weeks or a few months in the refrigerator. When ready to use, open the jar and rinse them off. I love cooking with preserved lemons; they are citrusy, and the salt reduces their tartness. You can use them in soups, fish dishes, sauces and tagines. Some people love them straight from the jar or served with olives. They brighten any cheese board.

To give them a little different flavor, add a cinnamon stick, bay leaves or peppercorns.

Wait! Save a few lemons to make lemon salt. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Zest a couple of lemons. I also had an orange and a lime laying around, so I zested those as well.

When you are finished, pour a cup or more of kosher salt on a dry cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Add the lemon zest to the cookie sheet, swirling it around.

Pop in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or so, checking to make sure the salt doesn’t burn.

Remove the cookie sheet and fill your little jars with the lemon salt. Done. The Girl and the Fig, a restaurant in Sonoma, Calif., sells this salt for $10 for a little jar: click here. You just made it at home for about 8 cents, if you don’t include the jar. You can use this citrusy salt for just about anything.

Bonus — if you want your kitchen to smell amazing, take the ends and throw them in a pot of water and boil to freshen up the room. Summer citrus in a pot.

In a matter of minutes, I had all of this done. And they have a lot less calories than that chocolate cake you were thinking about baking!

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