Pickles, preserves and procrastination!

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Writing is a bit of a lonely process, and particularly when I don’t have anyone (besides friends and family) actually waiting for me to finish a project – nobody eagerly anticipating my pages – it can be hard to keep going and stay motivated. For me, a certain amount of procrastination is inevitable. This week that took the form of the pickles and preserves project.

I’ve been wanting to cook more Middle Eastern dishes and the recipes often call for preserved lemons. It’s not something I’ve seen in any nearby shops, not even the Turkish supermarket, so so far I’ve been making do with fresh lemon, but the idea of preserved lemons has me intrigued and I suspect it could help take my cooking to the next level. So, I looked up how to make them.

I used this recipe, and decided to do a jar of limes as well because why not? Sadly I couldn’t find any organic limes, but I gave them a good scrubbing and a vinegar water bath, so I’m fairly confident I’ve removed any pesticides.

The thing to watch out for is apparently that you need to have at least half the jar full of lemon/lime juice in order for the fruits to be properly preserved. Now I just have to wait about a month before I can actually use them…

While I was putting things in jars anyway I decided to also pickle some onions (I’ve done that before and it’s so quick and easy) – they’re great in salads or as a sandwich or burger topping. I figured I might as well try to pickle some garlic while I was at it, and after some reading I decided to just use the same recipe as for the onions (found here). The thing you need to be careful with when pickling garlic is that it needs to stay refrigerated. Apparently garlic in liquid (pickle juice, oil…) stored at room temperature can develop botulism. Good to know!…

The pickled onion is already good to go after about 24 hours – not sure about the garlic as I’ve never made that before, but I assume it doesn’t take much longer. I added a bit of pepper corns, mustard seeds and a sprig of rosemary and thyme to each jar, but you don’t have to add anything besides the pickle juice if you don’t want.

At least this particular procrastination was productive. I’m looking forward to being able to use those preserved lemons and limes. Let me know if you have any favourite recipes or ideas for using them.

 

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