Tag Archives | citrus

How to Make Meyer Lemon Confit

Regular Food in Jars contributor Alex Jones is dropping in today with a brilliant idea for how to make lemon confit. These oil-poached lemon slices produce both deeply infused olive oil and tender slivers of lemon, ready to be chopped and stirred into braises, vinaigrettes, and batches of hummus. I am planning on starting a batch of my own immediately. -Marisa

A grouping of lemons on a kitchen towel for lemon confit

Every winter, I look forward to my box of tart, aromatic sunshine from Lemon Ladies Orchard, which I first learned about thanks to Marisa’s devotion to them on this very blog.

Sometimes I ask for it as a Christmas gift and spend the week between the holidays happily preserving. But this year, I ordered up a five-pound box of their gorgeous, organic Meyer lemons to brighten things up during the long midwinter stretch in February.

Sliced lemons for lemon confit

So far, I’ve preserved lemons in salt, made lemon syrup (the classic Joy of Cooking lemonade concentrate recipe that my mom made when I was a kid is my favorite), infused vinegar with the excess peels, and dehydrated several racks of thin slices to pop in my herbal tea till these precious lemons come into season next year.

I’ve reserved a handful for lemon bars and maybe a mini batch of velvety lemon curd, too. But I really wanted to try something new this year, maybe something savory. This Los Angeles Times compilation of 100 ways to use Meyer lemons — intended to ease the burden on Californians blessed with a backyard citrus bounty — offered an idea I’d never tried before: Meyer lemon confit.

Sliced lemons in a pot for lemon confit

You’ll often see salt-preserved lemons referred to this way (“confit” comes from the French word “confire,” meaning to preserve, so it makes sense). But this method preserves the lemons in fat — olive oil, to be precise. Slice the lemons, cover with oil, and cook them at the barest simmer over very low heat for an hour.

The olive oil is infused with a heady combination of brightness from the lemon oil, tartness from the juice, and a bitter undertone from the pith. The lemon itself becomes milder, the peel tender — almost like salt-preserving the lemon, minus the long wait and without the overpowering saltiness.

Lemon confit cooking at a bare simmer
Scoop out the oil and use it in salad dressings or marinades, then top the veggies with finely-diced pieces of lemon. Puree the mixture with fresh herbs and use as a dip for crusty, fresh bread or pita. Chop the thin-skinned lemons and toss them with steamed red potatoes and herbs in a vinegary potato salad, or rub minced lemons on chicken thighs before roasting. I bet you could add a whole new dimension to a lemony olive oil cake with this infused oil, too.

Two jars of lemon confit

You could take this preparation a step further and make variations with other flavors: add herbs like thyme or rosemary, or maybe a bundle of parsley stems; another option could be bay leaves and black peppercorns.

While this recipe can’t be canned, your lemon confit will keep for at least two weeks in the fridge (or months in the freezer), so you can add a lush, lemony note to dishes long after Meyer lemon season has ended. How are you preserving Meyer lemons this winter to last all year long?

How to Make Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Confit

Ingredients

  • 6 organic Meyer lemons
  • Olive oil to cover (around 2 cups)
  • Optional: herbs and spices like black peppercorns, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, or parsley stems

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry the lemons, then halve lengthwise and cut into slices between 1/4" and 1/2". Put the slices in a heavy-bottomed medium-sized pot or saucepan. Add good olive oil (it doesn't have to be extra virgin) to cover the lemon slices.
  2. Heat the mixture under the lowest possible heat for one hour. You're looking for a slow simmer — the occasional lazy bubble — but want to avoid a full simmer.
  3. When time's up, remove the pot from the heat. As soon as the mixture is cool, seal in jars, label with the date, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
http://foodinjars.com/2018/03/how-to-make-meyer-lemon-confit-olive-oil/

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How to Make Your Own Tonic Water

Regular Food in Jars contributor Alex Jones is here to with a how-to post designed to help you make tonic water syrup! A fun DIY project for an August weekend. – Marisa

When hot weather comes to Philadelphia, that’s my cue to pick up a bottle of gin — because there’s no better quencher at the end of a long, hot bike commute or gardening session than a bright, herbaceous gin and tonic.

In recent years, I’ve started investing in better, locally produced gins to make my favorite summertime cocktail: bottles of Philadelphia Distilling’s Bluecoat and Palmer Distilling’s Liberty Gin are made in the city; Manatawny Still Works’ Odd Fellows Gin is produced about an hour outside Philly in Pottstown. All three are delicious in a crisp G&T.

With quality craft gin, homemade seltzer (thanks to my secondhand SodaStream), and fresh-squeezed lime juice, I found myself just one ingredient away from a truly bespoke cocktail: homemade tonic water.

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Citrus Salt and Makrut/Thai Lime Simple Syrup

mixed salt and zest

I’m at that point of the book writing process where I’ve canned something everyday this week, but I can’t share a single glimpse of it with you. However, I have made a couple simple little things from book testing remains that I thought might merit a peek.

zested oranges

The first is a batch of air dried orange salt. I was working on a recipe for an orangeade concentrate (it’s delicious!) and was juicing oranges four pounds at a time. Wanting to get the most out of my citrus dollar, before I squeezed those oranges dry, I took the time to run them over a microplane to salvage all that flavorful zest.

orange zest

When all was said and done, I had about a 1/2 cup of orange zest (don’t be fooled by the markings on the measuring cup, it wasn’t entirely full). I measured out an equal amount of coarse grey salt because it was what I had. Any coarse or flaky sea salt works beautifully here.

grey salt

I rubbed it all together (my hands smelled like oranges even after a thorough wash), spread it out on a parchment lined baking sheet, and let it sit on my dining room table for a day. I’ve already used it on a warm salad of roasted butternut squash, shallots, pickled cauliflower, and Israeli couscous and I will rub it all over the chicken I plan on roasting on Sunday afternoon. It would also be delicious sprinkled over a pan of warm brownies (now that I’ve written that, I may have to make some brownies).

thai limes

The other thing I made was a little jar of Makrut lime simple syrup. I’m on my second box of Meyer lemons of the season and like the first box, Karen tucked a few fragrant Makrut (or Thai) limes in with my lemons. I didn’t have enough for marmalade, but there was enough to lend flavor to some syrup.

thai lime syrup

This one couldn’t be easier. I combined equal parts sugar and water (a cup of each) in a small saucepan and added the zest and juice of my three little limes. I simmered it for a few minutes and then strained it into a jar (I didn’t want the bits of zest in my finished syrup). I use this one mostly to spice up sparkling water, but if you’re a creative cocktail person, it would make a very nice addition to your bar.

What have you been doing with your citrus lately?

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Tips for Selecting, Prepping, and Preserving Lemons

January 15

Every January, I order a ten pound box of unsprayed Meyer lemons from the Lemon Ladies in California. I spend the next week or two transforming those lemons into marmalade, lemon curd, preserved lemons, dehydrated slices, syrups, and even infused vinegars. These preserves satisfy many of my lemon needs and help bring a much-needed bright spot into an otherwise dreary time of year.

Now, I realize that spending $65 on citrus isn’t in the cards for everyone. However, that doesn’t meant that you have to write off all lemon preservation projects. There’s a lot you can do with regular grocery lemons that will be delicious and won’t break the budget.

First off, if you’re making marmalade or using the zest in some way, organic lemons are best (but no judgment here if you can’t swing it). When you’re selecting the fruit, make sure to search out the lemons with the very smoothest skin. That almost always leads you to lemons that have thinner pith layers, which will make for a better marmalade or preserved lemon.

You also want to look for lemons that have a touch of green on the tips. Many years ago, I went on a press trip hosted by Sunkist and they taught us that lemons are always picked with some green remaining on the skin. They yellow up during storage and shipping. A hint of green means that they haven’t been off the tree as long as some of their compatriots.

When you’re ready to use your grocery store lemons, put them in the sink. Bring a kettle of water to a boil, let it cool for a moment, and then rinse the lemons with it. When they’re cool enough to handle, give them a good scrub with a vegetable brush and rinse with warm tap water. This process will remove any traces of the wax that lemons are typically coated with to extend their lifespan.

Now you’re ready to preserve. You can make just about all the recipes listed in this post with your grocery store lemons. You can make Kaela’s citrus salts. You can juice them, heap the peels in a jar, and cover them with distilled white vinegar to make an effective cleaning fluid.

How are you all preserving your citrus this year?

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Air-Dried Lemon Peel

dried Meyer lemon peel

Next time you go to juice a lemon for a recipe, take an extra minute, grab a vegetable peeler and remove the flavorful outer layer of skin from your lemon. Lay these fragrant slivers on a place and perch the plate on a shelf or on top of a towering stack of cookbooks (if you’re me).

Check them a day or two later, or whenever you remember. Soon enough, they should be quite dry but still fragrant and vividly colored. Place them in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and stash them in a dark corner. Once you have this little jar of dried lemon peels, here’s how you can use them.

  • Drop a sliver into brewing black tea. 
  • Pulverize a few strips with coarse salt and sprinkle over popcorn.
  • Crush them and whisk the bits into homemade vinaigrettes and marinades.
  • Float them in a water bottle.
  • Simmer these citrus ribbons in a pot of creamy rice pudding.
  • Use the jar as a day-brightening aromatherapy devise.

 

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Grapefruit Jam

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I have a bad habit of buying a mountain of fruit without much of a plan and then letting it sit around while I ponder and research. It doesn’t get me into too much trouble this time of year since apples, pears and citrus can store fairly well. It becomes more of a problem during the summer months, when things ripen at lightning speed.

grapefruit jam

When I came across a tower of red grapefruit priced four for $1, I bought eight, figuring they’d keep until I determined how to deal with them. I tucked the bag into the back of the fridge while I considered marmalades, curds and jellies. By the time I came back to it, more than two weeks had passed. Thankfully, grapefruit are sturdy and so they didn’t suffer too terribly in the interim.

grapefruit jam

Because the fruit wasn’t organic, I decided against marmalade (always best not to use the whole fruit if you don’t know how it was treated) and instead opted for a grapefruit jam. I was inspired by the filling I made for this citrus tart a few weeks back. I also happen to love the flavor of grapefruit and I was hopeful that it would translate well to a spreadable preserve.

grapefruit jam

When it comes to grapefruit, I’ve never been one of those people who cuts it in half, carefully dusts it with sugar and digs it with a spoon. I eat ’em peeled and segmented, just like an orange. It’s a little messy, but truly, there’s no way to deal with a grapefruit that isn’t just a little messy.

grapefruit jam

This recipe makes two pints (or four half pints if that’s your preferred measure). It’s a little bit of work to supreme the fruit (instructions here), but once that part is done, it cooks up in about 20 minutes like so many speedier jams. Spread on a buttered English muffin, it’s delivers the grapefruit flavor nicely, without the bitterness you get from marmalade. And though I like a hint of bitter on occasion, I was entirely fine not to find it here.

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