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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dried lemons...

I've been remiss in posting, this I know. And after a few conversations with some friends tonight, I feel anew and will promise to post frequent and often!
I go through my day and think..."this should be a post..." but then the day fades away from me, and know how it is.

So here is what I love to do with end of season citrus. It's not the end yet here in AZ– but soon enough one must gleen their trees to make way for new growth and the new fruit to set.  I most prefer to only use organic citrus and I try to use only citrus grown locally. This leaves me at a loss for lemons, or other citrus all the other months of the year! Preserving my citrus this way allows me to stretch how long I can use it for.

Slice lemons, oranges, or tangerines into slices, not too think, not too thin. I have a food dehydrator, so if you do to, place them on the trays and dry over night. If you don't have one, you can use your oven.
Place the slices on a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Place them in your oven on the lowest setting possible (usually 150-degrees F) but if you have the option set it to 135-degrees F. Let these go overnight in the oven, or about 6-8 hours. Part way through, peel and flip them over. Depending on your climate, it may take you much longer to dry them...but just leave them in until they are dry. Do this on a weekend when you have time to wait around for them. They darken because the natural sugars in the lemon carmelize, and it gives it a rich and wonderful flavor.

You may be wondering...what in the world do I do with these? Well, they keep forever in a tupperware or glass jars. Here is how I use them:
  • In my daily hot tea. They give it a tart, but carmely flavor.
  • I throw 4-5 slices into a saute to add a little extra something to a pan of dark greens or simmering chicken
  • Lay them over top of fish before you steam it

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