Six years ago, on January 4th, 2006, I turned 30. Rob held a small and intimate birthday party for me, inviting only our closest friends and family. In lieu of gifts he asked that each person bring me a book, and write inside the front cover the reason they chose that book for me. At the end of the night I had amassed a diverse collection of cookbooks, novels and even a few self-help books (ha!) specifically bought for me.
It was probably my favourite birthday gift ever. I would love to receive the same gift each year, but you can't really tell people what to buy you, now can you? Hey, it's my birthday and I would love it if you would buy me a book and write a note inside telling me why you bought this book for me. I do have a few type A tendencies to my personality, but that would be pushing it, I'm sure.
One of the books Rob bought me that year, featured a recipe for preserved lemons. I wasn't too familiar with them at that point, but I was intrigued by the fact that the recipe only had two ingredients: lemons and salt. I also wasn't thinking much about Moroccan cooking back then, but now I love it, and so preserved lemons have found their way into my pantry these days. I like to use Meyer lemons, which happen to be in season right now, along with a nice kosher salt. Something granular and chunky is my preference. I also like to included a bay leaf and cinnamon stick in my preserving pots. It infuses such a lovely flavour, and pairs well with almost anything you would add these puckery rinds to.
I returned home with a case of these little lemons yesterday, and in addition to the preserved ones I also set out to make a healthy, but tart, simple syrup. Inspired by Whole Living magazine, I intend to infuse my beloved Perrier with a little of this honey-lemon-water concoction I made. This will be my wine-free beverage for the coming weeks, as I wean myself off the glorious bottles of rose that have been in mass consumption over the past few weeks.Equally as pretty, but much better for me, I just might trick my mind into thinking I'm still ingesting all that good vino.
At least that's what I'll tell myself. I'm older now, and more likely to convince myself such things could be true.
- 6 meyer lemons
- Kosher salt (about 1/2 cup)
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
1. Wash lemons well with soap and water and thoroughly dry them. Place the salt in a shallow bowl.
2. Quarter the lemons lenthwise. Press each piece of lemon into the salt, covering the cut sides completely.
3. Transfer the lemons to glass jar. Press each layer of lemon with the back of a wooden spoon, allowing some of the juice to be released.
4. Fill the jar to the top. Tuck in the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks.
5. Seal the jar tightly. Leave the lemons at room temperature for four days, shaking the jars each day.
6. Transfer the lemons to the fridge for one more week, or until the rinds are soft.
7. Use them in soups, stews or salads.
Meyer Lemon Syrup
- 4 cups cold water
- 2/3 cup honey
- 6 meyer lemons, sliced thinly
1. Place the water and honey in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
2. Remove from the heat, add the lemon sliced and allow them to steep for 15 minutes.
3. Strain the mixture in a fine mesh sieve set over a 1L glass jar.
4. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
5. To make a spritzer, mix equal parts lemon syrup and sparkling water into an ice-filled glass. Top with pomegranate seeds or raspberries.