Friday, 7 March 2008

Preserved Lemons

What to do with a big bag of lemons that a friend gave us?
Preserved lemons!

They are easy to make, keep for ages, and can be used in 1001 dishes. (Or more.)

Wash and dry lemons. Cut into quarters (or cut into quarters but don't cut through at the stem end so that you still have a 'whole' lemon). I did the latter this time.

Get a clean, sterilised jar, sprinkle a spoonful of salt at the bottom of the jar. Take cut lemon, open up a little and sprinkle salt generously along the quarters. Push into jar. Do the same with all lemons until the jar is full. Push them in so that they release their juice. If there is not enough juice to cover the lemons, cut and squeeze more lemons to fill up the jar.
I also pushed in individual quarters to fill some gaps. So I cheated, call the preserved lemon police.

Be generous with the salt and lemon juice. There are lots of recipes how to make preserved lemons. They may vary slightly, but the basic principle is the same. Here is one that I used when I made them the first time.

That's what they look like when you have finished filling up the jars.
Put the jars into the pantry and let them do their thing for 3-4 weeks. They should be ready by then.

I use them mainly in chicken and seafood dishes. They add a great zing to a dish. Most recipes call for only the peel, but I usually use the whole quarter. Just make sure you are aware how salty and lemony they are. One quarter is very often enough to flavour a dish for two or three.


Crazy Mumma said...

Hi! I was tempted to do this last year with some of my Meyer lemon bounty, but didn't because I haven't ever cooked anything using them before - are you interested in sharing some of your recipes? My lemon tree is groaning with (still green) fruit again so I think I'll try salting this year when they ripen. Cheers, Julie

Veggie Gnome said...

Julie, I shall try to post a recipe when I next cook with preserved lemons. Let's hope I won't forget.

Do preserve some lemons, you won't regret it! Once you start cooking with them, you'll love it. You will quickly find out what works best.

Are you in Australia? If so, have a look at the Food Safari's website (SBS) and watch a repeat of the series. There are quite a few very tempting recipes in the Moroccan episode.