Well, hellllllllllllloooooooooooooo there! It has been quite a while, hasn’t it? It seems I took an unintentional blog hiatus over the winter: life and work (and more life) and not quite having a lot to say all played their part. But breaks are good things, I think; and I’m feeling refreshed and ready to tackle new cooking projects, and more importantly, talk about them here!
And what better reason to come out of bloggy hibernation than to celebrate the launch of my friend Autumn’s new book? Beyond Canning: New Techniques, Ingredients, and Flavors to Preserve, Pickle, and Ferment Like Never Before, was published by Voyager Press in February, but I’ve only just had time to delve into the pages and start dreaming of new preserving projects. Hot & sour cherry preserves are right up my chile-loving alley, and you know that grapefruit-rhubarb preserves is already bookmarked for those first delightfully pink stalks of Spring.
But since it isn’t quite Springy enough here in New York to have produced any real spring produce yet, I was seduced by the bright yellow, chile-flaked preserved lemons on the very cover of Beyond Canning: gochugaru preserved lemons, to be exact. I had a few end-of-season Meyer lemons rolling around in the crisper drawer; I had a tube of gochujang paste (the chile paste made with Korean gochugaru chile flakes, purchased for another recipe that I haven’t managed to make yet) languishing in the cabinet; I had a clean Mason jar. And salt: I always have salt. Good to go!
And that’s the nice thing about Beyond Canning: the recipes are fresh and inventive, but approachable and adaptable. You don’t feel like Autumn is standing in the corner of your kitchen, shaking her finger at you while you cavalierly squeeze chile paste out of a tube into your lemon ferment. Instead, her cheerful voice comes through loud & clear on the pages of this book, encouraging you to try it out – what could it hurt?
You all know that I am no friend to the pickle: pickles and I, we agree to disagree. But even I am tempted by the likes of pizza-pickled Brussels sprouts and Old Bay pickled cauliflower. And since the recipes are so human in scale – a pint or two of pickles can always be enjoyed by someone, after all – it makes it so much easier to simply give it a go. Who knows? Maybe, nestled somewhere in the pages of Beyond Canning, is a pickle I can get along with. Time will tell!
As for this lovely little preserved lemon pickle, it took me all of 10 minutes: wash & dry the lemons, root around in the cabinet for the gochujang, dig up a pretty Ball jar. Since I made half the batch specified in Autumn’s recipe, I cut the amount of salt roughly in half as well, and simply estimated the amount of gochugaru with a healthy squeeze of chile paste with every lemon I squeezed into the jar. Although keeping the lemons whole, and packing salt & spices into the cut lemon, is the traditional way of lemon ferments (and how Autumn does it in her recipe), I find it easier, on the cooking end, if the lemons are quartered, so that’s what I did. Shake the jar, let it sit in the sun for a few days, and a couple of weeks from now, I’ll have spicy, kimchi-esque, Korean-flair preserved lemons. #winning
For more Beyond Canning love, be sure to check out the blog tour for more fantastic writing & recipes from the book. If nothing else will convince you that this book deserves a second look, it should be that all the best blogs on the interwebs have written glowing things about it! There are also several giveaways: toss your virtual hat into the ring for a chance to win a copy. Good luck, and happy preserving!
- Food in Jars
- Punk Domestics
- Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking
- Snowflake Kitchen
- Good. Food. Stories
- Heartbeet Kitchen
- Brooklyn Supper
- The Briny
- The Preserved Life
- Hitchhiking to Heaven
- Hola Jalapeno
- Cook Like A Champion
- Dolly & Oatmeal
- 5 to 6 Meyer lemons, scrubbed & dried
- salt (I used coarse Maine sea salt)
- gochugaru chile flakes (or gochujang chile paste)
- Wash & dry a pint-sized Mason jar. I like to use a regular-mouth jar, with shoulders, to help keep the lemons submerged in juice.
- Slice the blossom & stem ends off of the lemons, one at a time. Quarter each lemon, picking out any obvious seeds along the way. Drop a heaped half a tablespoon of salt into the clean jar, then about half a teaspoon of gochugaru (or about a teaspoon of gochujang chile paste), then 4 lemon quarters. Repeat with salt, chile and lemon, squishing the lemons down into the jar as you go, until the jar is full to the shoulders.
- Finish with a last scoop of salt, cap the jar and give it a shake or two. If lemon juice doesn’t come at least halfway up the jar, squeeze the juice of one extra lemon in there. Let the jar sit in the sun for 2 to 3 days; the skin of Meyer lemons is quite soft already, so they don’t need a lot of time to ferment. Regular lemons may need more time, as much as a couple of weeks. Once the lemon skin is soft and the brine is thick & puckery, pop the jar in the fridge. Serve at will!
Allow to ferment for a few days to a week or two at room temperature, then store refrigerated, indefinitely.
Disclosure: A copy of Beyond Canning was provided to me, free of charge, for purposes of review.