Preserved Citrus

It is that time of year again! The citrus trees in our yard are heavy with ripe fruit and I am busy packing boxes to ship to my relatives on the East Coast. I have been seeing a lot of recipes for dishes that contain preserved lemons and I have decided to preserve a jar of my Bearss limes. They are a little sweeter than lemons, but have a bright yellow color when  ripe and are bursting with juice.

Ripe Bearss Limes

Ripe Bearss Limes

I scrub and dry enough limes to fit into a large sterilized Mason jar. The limes are then sliced into quarters without completely cutting through to the end.

Sliced - but intact

Sliced – but intact

I pour a heaping tablespoon of coarse sea salt into the center of each lime.

Sea Salted Lime

Sea Salted Lime

I place the lime top down into the mason jar and press firmly with the back of my (clean) hand squeezing some of the juice as I go. Repeat this until the jar is packed full and juice surrounds all of the fruit. A wonderful benefit is that your hands smell of fresh citrus all day!

Pressed Fruit

Pressed Fruit

Place the jar in your refrigerator. Wait about two weeks and use in any recipe that calls for preserved lemons. I suppose this could be done with any citrus fruit.  You would have some creative results tweaking traditional recipes that contain preserved lemons by replacing with the citrus of your choice. I will post a recipe with these as soon as they are ready!

Ready to Refrigerate

Ready to Refrigerate

 

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Arroz con Pollo

On our way back from an amazing sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands we had a longer than expected layover in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We decided to take a car into San Juan and get a feel for the the city instead of sitting at the airport reading People magazine. I am so glad we did. We started by heading into “old town” and getting a coffee and pastry.

Coffee in Old Town

Coffee in Old Town

After finishing our coffee, and, buying a bag of the beans to take home, we strolled through  cobblestone streets and enjoyed the Colonial-era architecture. San Juan was founded in 1509.

Colonial-era San Juan

Colonial-era San Juan

As a military city the town was built inside a fortress.

Old San Juan

Old San Juan

After a good long walk we decided to try some authentic Puerto Rican cuisine – “the kind Grandma cooks”. We were directed to a residential neighborhood near the airport and a wonderful restaurant called “La Casita Blanca”.

La Casita Blanca

La Casita Blanca

The warm hospitality and charming interior brought nostalgic feelings for 1960’s era San Juan. Old T.V.’s, mid century patio furniture, framed yellowed newspaper articles all reminiscent of a time gone by. Grandma’s food did not disappoint. Our gracious waiter offered us an appetizer of local avocado (how did he know about this obsession of mine?)…

Local Giant Avocado's

Local Giant Avocado’s

He returned with one sliced and sprinkled with oregano – large enough to feed a family of six.

Sliced Avocado

Sliced Avocado

It was a Saturday, and Saturday is the only day they cook Arroz con Pollo. A traditional Puerto Rican dish of braised chicken, rice and tomato Arroz con Pollo is easy to make. Brown a cut up chicken that has been seasoned with salt and pepper in olive oil. Remove from pan. Add a chopped onion, a chopped red pepper and a chopped green pepper to the hot oil and cook until it has softened. Add the chicken back to the pan. Add a cup of white rice and stir to coat with the oil and other ingredients. Pour in two cups of chicken broth and one cup of chopped tomato. Stir to scrape off any brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Salt and pepper liberally – I also like to add a few cloves of garlic that have been smashed. Cover and cook on low until the rice is done (about 30 – 40 minutes).

Here is La Casita Blanca’s version. Far better than mine – but I can keep trying.

Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo

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