Lemon Confit

June 8, 2014 | No Comments

Welcome to Week 23 of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge. The theme this week is confit. I always thought of confit as an animal being slow cooked in its own fat, as in duck confit.  Although that is one definition, it is not the complete one. The word confit is french, and actually stems from a time long long ago friends. A time when we did not have refrigeration and fruits, vegetables and meats were preserved using salt and sugar.  Let me introduce you to lemon confit.  Many recipes I looked at use olive oils, salt and herbs. I was inspired by this recipe that uses sugar as well as kosher salt. I will try another one soon that uses olive oil and herbs, and enjoy using  it differently and will happily share my findings.

Lemon confit, also known as  preserved lemon, is a wonderful  seasoning, and will prove to be very useful in stews, curries and sauces. You can also chop it very fine and add it to oil and vinegar to brighten, or freshen up a salad dressing.  It also goes well with a variety of meats and fish. In several weeks I will be making a special dish with it and I will share the recipe.

It was pretty challenging for me to do so, but do your best to get all the air pockets/bubbles out and pack the lemons in around the salt/sugar mix really well or mold might grow. The packing down process was very similar to the one I use when I make sauerkraut. I will continue to pack the fruit down every other day with my fist or a kitchen utensil, hoping for no mold. The acidic juice from the lemons should also reduce the oxidation of the skin to maintain its color, and help the lemon confit to remain a beautiful bright yellow.  If you feel the need to add more liquid during your process, add fresh squeezed lemon juice, not water.  If you preserve lemons differently, please feel free to share your way in the comments.

Lemon Confit
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Ingredients
  • 6-9 juicy lemons, washed well and cut in eights, or 1/8 inch slices (i used organic lemons)
  • 6-7 Tbsp sugar
  • 6-7 cups kosher salt
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix the salt with the sugar
  2. Toss the lemons with half of the salt-sugar
  3. Pour a small layer of salt-sugar into a clean wide mouthed jar (I used a number of different sized jars, but ended up liking the wide-mouth quart mason jar the best)
  4. Layer the lemons in the jar, covering them with the remaining sugar-salt after each layer
  5. Push out air bubbles after each layer with your fist or kitchen utensil
  6. Make sure lemons are fully covered with salt-sugar mix
  7. Cover jar and refrigerate the lemons for at least 2-3 weeks
  8. Once cured, the lemons will keep almost indefinitely in the salt
  9. To use the confit, remove a lemon wedge, or slice from the salt and rinse
  10. Scoop out pulp and white pith and use peel only
  11. Mince, dice or slice the confit if cooking
  12. If using it raw in a salad, after rinsing, blanch it in simmering water for 30 seconds to remove excess salt
  13. Remember if you are going to add some liquid during the process, add lemon juice for a bright yellow confit
  14. Do not add water, or the lemon rind will end up being tan when cured
  15. Enjoy!
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