Preserved Citrus


Now that winter has us in it’s icy grip, it seems all of the food world is writing about citrus and what can be done with it–case in point, see my limequats post from earlier. I am surely there with everyone else. It’s a loving crutch we all grab for when the light starts to fade this time of year. There have been about a million blog posts on the details of making preserved lemons. I will spare you yet another. You have the rest of the internet to describe exactly how to master this phenomenally easy preparation. However, I won’t spare you my musings on this versatile ingredient!

One of the cool things I’ve learned about salt-preserved lemons is that you can use any citrus, not just lemons. Along with various lemons, I’ve experimented with calamondins and the wild sour oranges I get from my mother in Florida. I’ve seen limes, oranges and grapefruits as well. I preserved so much citrus in salt a few years back, that I haven’t allowed myself to make more. They live on the bottom shelf of the fridge and are still bright in color and taste. I use a bit here and there. I haven’t made any more because truly, how much can you use? (Not to mention, I have a six-year old in the house.  I always thought my child would be that kid who loved everything, and while he’s much more adventurous than many kids I know, he still has a very limited repertoire. I try not to cater too much to his kid-like palate, but I do have to feed him, you know?)

The calamondins have turned into a clear golden jelly, filled with seeds and their thin skin. The tennis-ball sized sour oranges were squished into a large mason jar. The other day I took both dwindling jars out and separated all the skin from the flesh. I milled the innards to remove the seeds and membranes. This puree covered the skins, which I julienned, in a much smaller jar. Now I have a half-pint left, which will probably last me another year!

Of course, you can use your varied salt-cured citrus in many preserved lemon recipes. Some of my favorites are here:

Pureed Preserved Lemons.

Preserved Lemon Hummus.

Preserved Lemon and Mint Allioli.

Preserved Lemon Mayonnaise.

And I haven’t made this, but I ought to! Preserved Lemon Martini. I’ll bet salt-cured oranges would made a great drink…

  1. Calamondins!! Such a Florida treat (my home state). I am making both lemon curd and preserved lemons this week, both first-time efforts. I am super excited to extend my love of citrus into the coming weeks/months! Do you add any spices to your preserved citrus, or do you keep it simple? I am undecided. I see recipes using cardamom (I’m always on the fence with that one), peppercorns, or cinnamon. And oh, man, if I could have my mom send me some of those gems – I’d take a case of Tangelos, too. 😉

    1. Can’t wait to see what beautiful things you come up with, Jayme. Everything you touch turns elegant! I have experimented a lot with spices, and I’ve always found a plain approach worked best for me. Maybe peppercorns or bay, but I think it depends on how and what you cook.

      I really love calamondins! They are such zippy little guys. They ship well I have found. Maybe she’d send you some?

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