Ali here! I am loving the lemon season and was gifted loads from my workmate. Apart from looking pretty ,they inspire me to get creative in the kitchen!
To be extra certain your jar is only going to preserve the ingredients you’re putting into it, it’s best to sterilise before filling.
Sterilising is pretty easy:
Wash the jars and lids in hot, soapy water and then place in the oven at 150C for 15 minutes. Take care when handling hot jars. Wait for hot jars to cool before you fill them with ingredients at room temperature.
- 8-10 clean lemons
- 500g rock salt or flaky sea salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cinammon quills
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- Cut the lemons into almost-quarters, leaving them attached at the base. Push a generous amount of salt into the middle of each lemon
- Pack the salted lemons tightly into a sterilised jar, squishing down slightly so the lemon juice is released. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon quills, star anise, coriander seeds and another large handful of salt. If you need to, top up with a little water (ensuring there are no air bubbles in the jar).
- Seal the jar, and leave it to sit at room temperature for a couple of days, inverting it every now and then so that the spices can resettle. Then move it to the fridge and leave for at least 3 weeks until the rinds soften and lose their bitterness. You can store the preserved lemons in your fridge for up to 6 months.
To use your lovely lemons, remove one from the jar and rinse thoroughly to remove the extra salt. Scrape away the flesh and pith and discard. Finely chop the preserved lemon rind.
Here are six ideas you could use these preserved lemons:
- Preserved lemons transform yoghurt or mayonnaise to be used as a dressing and, finely chopped, add flavour to a tomato and coriander salsa to accompany fish.
- Add a dressing of extra virgin olive oil and finely chopped preserved lemon peel to cooked, warmed lentils or beans along with plenty of watercress or rocket. Serve with crumbled feta or as an accompaniment for grilled lamb leg steaks.
- Make a flavoured butter by adding finely chopped preserved lemon, garlic and chives to softened butter. Spread under a chicken skin before roasting or serve atop a piece of fried fish.
- Finish a seafood risotto with finely chopped preserved lemon or add to a gremolata, along with finely chopped parsley and garlic, to finish a braise of beef or lamb.
- Add slivers of preserved lemons to vegetables before roasting. Or blanch and saute silverbeet, broccoli or cauliflower in olive oil with garlic then add slivers of preserved lemon and some pitted olives.
- Make a tagine of lamb or chicken by browning the meat then adding chopped onions, garlic, slivers of preserved lemons, cumin seeds, a few chopped tomatoes, fresh coriander and a little stock or water. Preserved lemons will also enliven all kinds of other casseroles.