... Make something wonderful from them!
It's probably no secret to anyone who knows me well that for the most part I can take or leave chocolate. But I will never leave a lemon-anything untouched! So, when my friend Barb suggested a day making preserved lemons, followed by a lemon-themed lunch, how quickly do you think I answered "I'm in!"
So, on a relatively gloomy late March day that was trying (with mixed degrees of success) to be spring, friend Kate and I headed to Barb's for an afternoon of food, fun and great conversation.
When I walked in, this was my first sight -- a gorgeous tables where springtime yellow and (of course) lemons took centerstage.
Our party favors? Well, they started with Lemonhead candies!
And, those lemon covers on the chairs were party favor number two -- darling aprons!
After munching on some snacks, including a delicious dip made with preserved lemons, dill pickle and bacon, we got to work.
I'll walk you through this but if you're really into making these (and I hope you are because it's fun and simple!) you might want to use the recipe Barb sent along (which I'll link to below). To begin with, you need pint jars, about five lemons per jar, peppercorns, bay leaves and boatloads of kosher salt.
Cut off the ends of the lemons so they can stand and slice almost to the bottom in quarters (if they break apart, no worries, which is a good thing, because many of mine did!)
Put about a tablespoon of Kosher salt and five peppercorns or so in the bottom of your jar.
In a bowl filled with A LOT of Kosher sale, thoroughly coat the lemons with salt. Don't brush any off!
Then start cramming them into the jar. And when I say "cram," I mean it. Pound them down with a spoon or muddler. You want juice coming out of those!
When the jar is about half full, put in another teaspoon of salt and continue filling. When you absolutely can't stuff in one more quarter, add another teaspoon of salt and more peppercorns. If you must add lemon juice, do it here to fill to the top. Use straight-from-the-lemon juice, no mixing with water.
Seal tightly. And repeat till you have used all your lemons!
Set the jarred lemons aside and once a week for four weeks, open them, run a knife (a regular dinner knife is fine) down the sides to release air bubbles, reseal and TURN OVER. Repeat.
In four weeks they are done! Super salty and tart! (You can rinse if you wish.) You can dice up the peel to include in salad dressings, drinks (I'll tell you about ours in a minute), pasta, as part of a sauce or topping for fish or certain meats, or in a number of other ways. Barb's cousin used the brine she she sauteed shrimp. (Here's the online recipe -- slightly different but close.)
Party Favor Number Three: A roll of herb butter -- diced preserved lemons and parsley mixed with butter, frozen into a log! Fabulous!
So, let's move onto the food...
As I mentioned, Barb made the lemon/bacon/dill pickle dip (sorry, I don't have the recipe), which we enjoyed with a tasty drink. At the bottom of the glass put pieces (maybe half spoonful) of the tart preserved lemon. Add lemon juice and tonic water (and lots of ice!). It's the ultimate lemonade with no sugar (if you use sugar free tonic water). And for a later-in-the-day cocktail, gin or vodka would be perfect!
Next we enjoyed steamed broccoli with pats of the tart lemon butter. It needed nothing more!
Barb's pasta dish was a Martha Stewart recipe. The only change she made was using 1 stick of butter instead of the olive oil. Believe me, I've had a lot of fabulous pasta in my time. This goes to the head of the class.
For dessert, she had us making our own lemon cream puffs. To the already-baked puffs, we added lemon curd, vanilla pudding and whipped cream.
I'm not sure how pretty they looked -- but oh, they tasted fabulous!
Needless to say, we ate very well indeed, and left with wonderful preserved lemons that we'll tend to for the next month until we can use them (along with our fabulous parting gifts!)
But best of all was sharing an afternoon in the company of friends. There was loads of laughter, great discussion (and not just fluffy stuff but issues, too!) and that sense of joy that comes when one spends time with those you truly enjoy and feel grateful to have in your life.
Can it get better than that? No, I didn't think so.
Sharing with: Share Your Style / Love Your Creativity / All About Home
And I thought lemons were just for squeezing ON fish and IN gin and tonic!
I love lemon anything, too! This was a festival of lemons. What a production she put on.
Ohhh what a fun, fun, fun, day. I too love lemons. Both my daughter and I eat them like oranges. What a great way to preserve them. I will give this a try. Thanks for sharing your amazing day.
Oh my gosh this looks like such a fun day!! I am also a fan of lemons and I love how they were incorporated into everything. So cheery!!
A wonderful afternoon with friends! People need moments like that.
Love the aprons and cream puffs
Jeanie, what a fabulous lemon party with great food, fun, and friendship. Oh how I would love a lemon cream puff! Thank you for sharing a festive afternoon!
What a lovely post….I like lemons 🍋 too…especially limoncello 🍀🍋🍀 always a bottle in my fridge…😊 I blog no much at the moment …verry worried about finding a house for Leaf and me on time 🍀🙏🍀 love from me❤️🐾
How weird … and wonderful too, I guess.
Now that was a great way to spend the day! NICE!!!
Dawn P. Albany, GA
I didn't realize how much I loved lemon until I thought about the fact that I always gave up chocolate for Lent and never gave up lemon.
Why didn't you take me along!? It sounds like a day in paradise. And I can almost smell the lemons! You must show us again when your lemons are finished! Hugs, Valerie
This sounds like such sheer joy! I really like lemon goodies but have never heard of many of these. What a wonderful day with good fiends! :)
What a wonderful lemon love party!!!! How cute to give you lemon aprons and the preserved lemons sound amazing, my mouth is watering!! So many great ideas here Jeanie, thanks for sharing!
What a fun time with your friends, I love almost anything with lemon, especially lemon curd. The tablescape looks so cute. The recipes sound yummy, thanks for sharing. Take care, enjoy your day and the week ahead.
Well, that was a VERY lemony day! I'm never sure what to do with preserved lemons. The Moroccans cook them into a tagine with chicken and olives, which is fantastic, but aside from that they're a complete mystery to me. I do like them, though.
This looks like such a fun day. That yellow table looks wonderful and cheery; much like the whole day sounds. I've never seen preserved lemons, but they sound very useful. Now I want to make some so thanks for linking a recipe. I'm off next week to visit a friend but when I get back I think I will try this. I love the photo of the 3 of you in your lemon themed aprons. It's great. And lunch looks delicious. I enjoyed this post a lot.Thanks for making me smile and adding some sunny yellow on a grey day. hugs-Erika
Lemons everywhere, what a fun day. :)
The lemon aprons are a well-deserved publicity for the all-beneficial yellow citrus fruit.
You are making my mouth water. I steam broccoli pretty often and now I am going to add a splash of lemon with my butter! I may do that tonight!
This looks like a wonderful day -- and a heroic stand for springtime festivities. Just the energy & creativity it took to pull this afternoon off is awe-inspiring. And this delicious project definitely looks like something worth trying -- thank you!
Marvellous to see how lemons in the hands of talents and artists can be so versatile! (Not sure if this comment was posted already. Some glitches I encountered) — Arti
I’ve made preserved lemons but not in such large quantities. They are very useful for North African cuisine, as well as all the nice recipes you mentioned. I’m also a lemonlover, and in fact, after squeezing a lemon wedge onto fish or salad or whatever, I just eat it all including the rind.
best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Sounds like you had fun.
All of the food looked delish! Glad you had some much needed fun with friends. You all looked very happy indeed. Janice
Nedra gave me a couple of lemons when she came here for lunch. I might try using them with some of your ideas in mind. However, I do have acid reflux disease, so I may not be able to tolerate the acidity. Beautiful photos!
Trader Joe's sell great lemon squares in the ice cream case. I didn't used to like lemon favored things but I've gotten quite hooked in recent years.
Fabulous ...Summer has begun here and we are feeling the heat. Craving for a glass of lemonade 🍋
Mouth-watering! That's my kind of party--like you, I find lemons irresistible. Fresh citrus from the garden is one thing I miss about living in California!
What a fun day, Jeanie! Love the pretty and creative table and all the yummy food. The preserved lemons sure are pretty in the jars, too. So nice to spend the day with good friends while learning something new! xx K
Sounds like you had a super-fun, yummy day! I need to go through Gennaro´s Limoni-cookbook again!
This is so fabulous, Jeanie. I love lemon any and everything, and these are all fresh ideas. What a great time and host you had!
How fun are you and your friends.Great idea and the caring in her reception for you..outstanding.
I'm with you, Jeanie! I love anything and everything lemon. I just watched a segment on the Today show where they made a lemon pasta dish and I'm drooling, and would eat it for breakfast if I could!
Wow. A wonderful day at Barb’s celebrating a lemon party. Only Barb can do this perfectly! All her decorations were great and
Of course celebrating lemons! I love love! Lemon anything! Wish I was there….. Enjoy your lemon caning results. ❤️❤️
What a great day you had. You have inspired me. Whenever I make Moroccan food, which is not very often, it often calls for preserved lemons and there I am. Four weeks, shy of having those lemons ready to go. Now I feel energized to …possibly…. plan ahead. what a wonderful gathering. Far more sweet and sour.
Oh my! I would absolutely love every single bit of this lemon gathering. I love lemons too. When I have a tea party I always say there must be something lemon, but also something chocolate. The pasta looks delicious. Now I will indeed be making the lemons in the jar. Thanks for the inspiration. Yummmm!
And I loved all the party favors too. Even those yellow tulips on the table carried out the theme so very well.
What a fun time! Love the lemon decorations and gifts. Honestly I have never heard of preserving lemons before but it sounds easy to do. Thanks for taking us with you to have fun.
I've never heard of lemon preserves, but this looks wonderful!
LEMONS....they add such a beautiful bright look on things. So pretty. Looks like you had a great time and I am all about pasta! FYI~ I will however take choc over lemon. lol
Such a great lemon party. Pasta is a favorite and those yummy lemon desserts. The aprons are a nice touch. Thanks for sharing the lemoon recipe in a jar.
Thank you I didn't know lemon can be preserved this way.
Ha, ha, Lemonhead, that cracked me up! Fun ideas!
Lemons - yum! Your friend Barb was the perfect hostess. That pasta looks delicious too. Happy spring Jeanie!
Only my wonderful friend Barb could pull off such a spectacular day of fun with lemons! She is one talented woman! I love this tribute to lemons!
That is delightful! I really loved your fun, creativity, but your smiles are the best!
Oh what fun! And look at those aprons.
I'm a little foggy on the details, but the last time I had dental surgery, I had some sort of problem with clogged salivary glands. My dentist said, "Get thee to the cheapest candy counter you can find, and get some lemon drops That'll fix you right up." And it did. Lemon activates salivary glands better than anything -- and sometimes (like right now) even the thought of lemon can do the trick!
What a fun and productive day..The aprons are adorable..The table is lovely..
This post made me pucker...
I can see using this on all kinds of fish and in different drinks..bet the butter was good on Broccoli.
The pasta looks wonderful..
And the cream puffs..yum!!
This is definitely a lemon festival creating so much food here!
What a wonderful afternoon with your friends ... simply fabulous.
I do like your aprons, they look great.
Happy times and wonderful memories.
All the best Jan
This post is a lemon. NO wait. It is LOTS of lemons! I learned about lemon things I had never heard of before and I want to try them all. So glad you three had so much fun, too. It was nice of you to share it with us.
I love lemons, too!
Wow! What a wonderful time with friends. Those cream puffs have set my mouth watering. They look so so good! I LOVE those aprons, too. Enjoy the rest of the week, Jeanie! xo Diana
Jeanie, A great post. Love the lemon theme aprons and the table looks so springy. Lemon cream puffs are worth checking out. Have a great day! Sylvia D.
That sounds wonderful! I'm the same: I could take or leave chocolate things (chocolate cake I will especially leave, thanks) even if it's dairy free. But I LOVE lemon flavoured things!
WHAT FUN! THere is nothing like gal pal time! All the lemon dishes sounded perfect! ANd now I think I will be making cream puffs for my Book Club Meeting next week!
Aren't lemons wonderful!!!
Hello Jeanie :=)
I love the photo of you three smiling gals.It looks like a fun get together. We grow lemons on the farm, but I have never made lemons preserved in this way. I make lemon meringue pie, lemon sponge cake, but I have not tried making lemon cream puffs. Butter with herbs and lemon is great, and in lots of fish dishes it's very good, and also fried chicken with lemon is very tasty. I love the fresh taste of lemon, and even have a plasticised tablecloth with a bright lemon pattern. I love those aprons of yours, but most of all your friendship with your girlfriends is wonderful to see. This was a truly happy post and it was most enjoyable.
I'm sure this must have been a fun filled day for you. I'm with you, anything lemon and it has my name on it. This was so interesting to see how the preserved lemons are made. Happy weekend......
What an absolutely fabulous time! I have a jar of home-preserved lemons in the fridge and love using them! Such a delicious tartness. I'm going to try the drink you mentioned here. Friendships like this are a treasure.
What a fun get together, Jeanie. I have to first say that those lemon cream puffs look amazing. And the pasta looks delicious too. I am wondering where she found the already baked puffs, that's quick and convenient. The jars with preserved lemons is a wonderful idea. The table setting is delightful. Loved it all, especially those aprons. What a nice favor to take home. I love that blue glass vase too with the yellow flowers. And a great picture of the three of you. What a cheerful post, Jeanie. Lemons and Yellow always seem to be uplifting.
I love lemon anything too, especially iced lemon tea!
Such a wonderful and fun afternoon with friends.
Those cream puffs are so enticing!
Hugs and blessings, Jeanie
What a wonderful idea with a meal and cooking with lemons. I love lemons and all the recipes look fabulous.
Wow, you and your friends really and truly celebrated lemons and it all looks good. 👍
What delicious fun, and a great theme for an entire menu. Those aprons are a great touch, looks like you had a blast!
sounds absolutely brilliant. I used to make lemon curd, not any more though.
could you explain all the salt, please, and why kosher salt? what is kosher salt? Could it be sea salt?
Jeanie, life gave you lemons and three, beautiful, sweet girls were the result. What a fun endeavor and beautiful day spent with friends. Everything sounds so good and looks so pretty..Perfect for a Happy Spring..xxoJudy
I love lemon desserts.
Have a great weekend.
This is Lisa - I can’t get that fix for anonymous comments to work on my phone… still looking into to!
What a fun, festive party! I love the favors she provided, especially the fun aprons! I don’t think I have ever had preserved lemons before! I do love a good lemon curd, though. I’ve never tried making one but my mom often makes lemon desserts!
What a fabulous time the three of you had. I agree, the best is the time spent with good friends and people you truly enjoy. All the lemon dishes look wonderful. I love to use lemon in my cooking and use them generously, especially at this time when people just give away the lemons from their trees. Whenever I walk the neighborhood I come upon boxes filled with lemons for free, and they are delicious.
What a wonderfully fun activity Jeanie! You all look like you are really enjoying yourselves! Isn't it great to be able to get together with friends again, albeit on a smaller scale! I adore lemons and will try to make the preserved ones at some point! Thank you! xoxo
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