Here in California lemons are available year round, and I was surprised to find a lemon tree in the garden here in our new place in Northern California. I thought we were too far north for citrus, but the tree is doing well and a few weeks ago I found myself with several dozen lemons that ripened all at once. Hating to waste produce, I scrambled to figure out what to do with that much lemon.
I had planned on making a big batch of salt-preserved lemons but discovered to my dismay that I had left the lemons on the tree too long and they were over-ripe. So I did the easy thing: I squeezed most of them, put the strained juice in ice cube trays to freeze, then stored the frozen cubes in freezer bags. Very handy for when you need a tablespoon or so of lemon juice for a recipe.
That still left me with a whole lotta lemons, so I decided on making a batch of pickled garlic. Aside from the peeling, this was quick and easy: whole garlic cloves, lemon slices, mustard seed, and some other spices put up in a vinegar brine. Pickled garlic is great in vinaigrette and can be used in any recipe calling for garlic.
Aren't they pretty? I love seeing them when I open the pantry door. I divided the recipe into smaller jars so that I could give some away, but next time I think I'll halve the recipe and make just one large jar.
After I canned this batch of garlic, I still had a large number of cloves left, so I made a quick jar of pickled garlic to go straight into the fridge. I tweaked the recipe because I didn't have all of the ingredients on hand (how did I not have any peppercorns?), but here is the original from The Glass Pantry by Georgeanne Brennan.
PICKLED GARLIC CLOVES
1 cup peeled garlic cloves (from about 6 heads)
2 bay leaves (fresh or dried)
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp allspice berries
2 or 3 juniper berries
1/2 to 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
Put the cloves in a dry sterilized jar. Add the bay leaves and spices, and then pour in enough vinegar to cover the garlic. Cover the jar with a lid and store in the fridge for up to 4 months. Makes about 1/2 pint.