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.
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