Our cat escaped. Again. (Yes again, and lest you think we are just bad pet owners, one time this cat literally tore a hole in a screen window in order to jump through, and we have since replaced a all the window screens with metal mesh.) This time he apparently opened a locked door in order to get out. The other two cats stayed put. I think he once got a taste of freedom and liked it.
He immediately went to hide under the neighbors’ house, but he came out often just to taunt us, and as soon as we got near him he would retreat.
Two good things came out of this. One, we did eventually wheedle the cat back in the house. Two, the neighbor whose house he was hiding under left us some meyer lemons, near the cat trap. (Yes, we have a cat trap. DON’T JUDGE.)
Meyer lemons! I literally squealed with joy, which made my husband look at me a little funny. But I’ve been wanting to try one forever. More, I wanted to try cooking and possibly canning with them. I only got about 6, so I agonized about what to make. Marmalade? I’m actually holding out for grapefruit to try a marmalade recipe I found. Lemon curd? Candied lemon rind? (Turns out I didn’t have to worry as these were evidently monster sized lemons.) Then I found a recipe for salt-preserved lemons, which are apparently common in Moroccan cooking, and I just got this tagine which has been sitting in my cabinet waiting for recipes. And a heat diffuser. Mostly the diffuser.
I researched a few recipes on how to pickle lemons, they mostly call for salt, lemons, and variable amounts of lemon juice and spices. So I just sort of made it up as I went along. Most of the recipes suggest quartering the lemons, but not all the way through, leaving the lemon joined at one end. I thought about doing this but then my lemons wouldn’t have fit through the jar opening. As I said, monster lemons. So I just quartered them.
Then I sterilized my jars, at which point, this happened:
Yes, the bottom of the jar broke clean off. It caused me some alarm as it was not immediately noticeable and I couldn’t figure out why there was no water in a jar that was evidently submerged in water…
Then I liberally salted the bottom of a sterilized jar, liberally salted the lemon wedges, and liberally sprinkled salt in between layers of lemon wedges. (If you haven’t got the picture yet, that’s a lot of salt.) Then I pressed the lemons down with a wooden spoon until all the juice ran out. My lemons were juicy enough that the juice pretty much covered all the lemon pieces, but if yours don’t you can add a little fresh sqeezed lemon juice. I threw in a cinnamon stick, just for fun. Now they need to sit for a while, and then in about a month, pickled lemons! Hooray!