This past Spring, I was lucky enough to have an overabundance of Meyer lemons growing in my garden, so I decided to try my hand at making preserved lemons.
What Are Preserved Lemons?
Preserved lemons are a traditional ingredient used in Moroccan and Middle Eastern cooking. Essentially, preserved lemons are lemons that have been pickled in salt and their own juices. The simple preserving process involves quartering the lemons, rubbing them with salt, then packing them into jars. I used this recipe from Nourished Kitchen as a general guideline. The most important ingredient is patience, since the lemons need to ferment at room temperature for about a month.
It took some willpower to let them sit uneaten for that long, but I am now the proud owner of one gallon of delicious preserved lemons! If you ask me, lemons are always a standout ingredient, but preserving them really amps up their flavor to another level. The sourness of the lemons becomes more mellow during the fermentation process. You can use the peels in their entirety because they soften during the preservation process. Thus, the citrus oils found in the lemon peels provide an explosion of complex flavors.
Preserved Lemons For Dessert?!
Savory dishes, such as stews and tagines, often feature preserved lemons. However, I felt that a dessert could benefit from the addition of the unique tang of preserved lemons. With the summer heat in full effect, it’s now the perfect time for some cold treats, so I incorporated preserved lemons into these delicious cream pops!
With only five ingredients, these vegan cream pops are super simple to whip up. The creaminess of coconut milk pairs wonderfully with the tart and tangy preserved lemons. If you don’t have a jar of preserved lemons already sitting in your refrigerator, find them at specialty food stores and markets, some grocery stores, or online.
Preserving lemons amps up their flavor to a whole other level. Here, the citrus oils from the softened lemon peels provide an explosion of complex flavors. Coconut milk provides a wonderfully creamy base for these vegan cream pops. With only 5 ingredients, they’re super simple to whip up and are a perfect cold treat for a hot summer day.
- 1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened full fat coconut milk
- 3/8 cup cassava syrup (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot
- 3/8 cup rinsed and finely chopped preserved lemon
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together coconut milk, cassava syrup, and lemon juice. Heat until melted and well combined, about 2 minutes.
- Remove about 1/2 cup of the coconut milk mixture and place in a small bowl. Add arrowroot to bowl, whisking well until completely incorporated. Slowly pour arrowroot mixture back into saucepan and stir well to incorporate into the coconut milk.
- Continue cooking over medium heat, whisking often, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour mixture into a large bowl and set aside until cooled to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
- Add preserved lemon to coconut milk mixture and stir well to combine.
- Divide evenly among 6 ice pop molds and place into freezer. Once mixture is slightly frozen, after about 30 to 45 minutes, insert popsicle sticks. Continue freezing until completely solid, at least 6 hours or overnight.
- To remove cream pops from molds, run molds under warm water for 5 to 10 seconds to help release the cream pops. Eat immediately or return to freezer for storage.
Cassava syrup is a fructose-free sweetener that’s made from the root of the cassava plant. It can be found at many health food stores and online. If you can’t find cassava syrup, alternative sweeteners such as coconut syrup can be used instead, but be aware that darker syrups will change the color of the final product.