One of my all time favourite ingredients! I enjoy making jars of them as much as I enjoy eating them. This North African and Middle Eastern speciality has a distinctive salty lemony intense flavour. They always send my tastebuds dancing to a smooth soul number that makes me crack into a few moves of my own. I'm bound to do a little shoulder shimmy anytime I eat something truly delicious. It's completely unconcious so I can't help it, I feel like maybe it's a way of my body being like 'mmmm thanks for that!'.
It's super simple to make your own preserved lemons and once you have, you won't be buying anymore from the supermarket. Plus, they last forever! Just keep them refridgerated and use them to make dressings, dips, stir into stews, chop into salad, marinades, with poultry, meat, fish, grains, anything basically, the list could go on!
There are several ways you can make preserved lemons; whole (quatered, but not all the way through), in wedges or sliced. I did a mix of whole and wedges, but tend to do sliced if I'm filling a smaller jar. If you can find meyer lemons go for them, they're more seasonal (winter) and are sweeter than ordinary lemons. But I always just use ordinary organic lemons.
Total time: 15 mins
- Sterilised jar
- The amount of lemons you need depend on the size of your jar, but opt for organic ones if you can and make sure they're unwaxed
- Coarse sea salt (I always use Malden). The amount varies depening on the size of your jar, but don't be shy with it!
Once you've decided how you're going to prepare your lemons, start by adding a teaspoon of salt to the bottom of your jar. If using wedges or sliced lemons begin to layer the bottom of the jar, add another teaspoon of salt then layer with more lemons. Repeat this process until you reach the top of the jar compressing as you go along so there's enough lemon juice at the top. If you're using whole lemons that have been quatered, spoon plenty of salt inbetween each quater, place in jar, add more salt and repeat making sure to compress each lemon.
Seal your jar and store it in a cool dark place (kitchen cupboard will do) for upto 4-5 weeks. And enjoy! Watch this space for some recipes using my preserved lemons once they're ready.