Too Many Lemons? Make Preserved Lemons and Enjoy Them All Year Round

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One of the many things I treasure about living in California is the amazing abundance and variety of citrus fruits which come into season in the winter. Among all that variety, Meyer lemons are probably the one I find most useful.  While in many places Meyer lemons are an expensive delicacy, in the Bay Area, it seems nearly everyone has a neighbor, friend or family member with a tree which produces more than they can use.  Play your cards carefully, and you never have to buy one.  Even I have a dwarf Meyer lemon growing in a pot on my patio, and today I harvested about 20 lemons which I’ve decided to preserve Moroccan style. Preserving lemons is a wonderful way to stretch a supply of lemons to last for a year. You can use the preserved lemons in almost any savory dish where the brightening taste of lemon is appropriate. Preserved lemons are a frequent ingredient in tagines, the stew-like dish which is one the foundations of Moroccan cuisine, and preserved lemons are a great foil for most any protein, whether beans, fish, poultry or meat. Chopped fine, they’re also a great addition to whole grain pilafs and salads. Yes, it’s true that you can buy preserved lemons at upwards of $10 a pound in stores such as Whole Foods, but if someone offers you a slew of lemons, why not make your own?  All you really need to add is salt.  Then, it’s just a matter of patience–this truly “slow food” will be ready in about a month! Detailed directions for preserving lemons, after the jump…

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Locavore: Why We Love Meyer Lemons

Dwarf Meyer lemon tree in a pot on my patio

When I moved from San Francisco to a place in Vallejo with a sunny patio, I decided to fulfill a long-time wish to have my own Meyer lemon tree. I bought this dwarf tree about a year and a half ago, and as you can see, it looks to produce quite a few lemons this year. In fact, I need to thin the tiny lemons to allow larger growth for the remaining ones. It has a southern exposure, I feed it with a mix designed for citrus, and last year I pruned it back quite a lot. As meyer lemons tend to thrive in this climate and, legend has it, do well in pots, I hope to have a steady crop for years to come. More on Meyer lemons and a recipe for my vegan Meyer lemon-maple mousse after the jump.

Creamy Meyer Lemon-Maple Mousse (recipe after the jump)

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