PRESERVED LEMON PEEL
- 5 5 5pounds POUNDWeightwhole lemons, washed
- 5 5 5cups CUP_USVolumesugar
- 1 1 1cup CUP_USVolumesalt
- 4 4 4cups CUP_USVolumewater
- Use a sharp knife to cut each lemon lengthwise not quite completely into quarters, starting at the flower end and leaving the quarters attached at the stem end. In a large, non-reactive mixing bowl, stir together the 1 cup of the sugar and all of the salt. Add the lemons and toss to combine them evenly with the sugar-and-salt mixture, making sure to work some of the mixture into the center of each lemon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for 30 days.
- In a large saucepan, bring the remaining 4 cups of sugar and the water to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and set this simple syrup aside.
- Remove the lemons from the sugar-salt mixture. Place them in another saucepan of enough cold water to cover them completely. Bring the water to a boil. Drain off the water and repeat with more cold water. Repeat again twice more for a total of 4 boilings and changes of water. Drain again and add the lemons to the pan of simple syrup. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, let the lemons cool in the syrup, and then remove and discard everything but the yellow-colored outer rind of the peel. Refrigerate in the syrup for up to 1 month, covered.
Preserving lemon peel with salt and sugar gives it an incredibly mellow flavor and transforms it into a really great condiment and seasoning for both sweet and savory dishes, including my Hearts of Palm Salad with Shaved Parma Ham (see "Salads"). The preserved lemon peel will keep for 1 month covered in the refrigerator, and can be used in any recipes that call for lemon juice or zest, or can be diced and tossed with cooked vegetables.