I cannot resist when lemons are on special offer at the supermarket. There are so many wonderful things you can do with them… homemade lemonade, lemon curd, gin and tonic (!) This week, I had a go at making preserved lemons. They are a lovely addition to any Moroccan dish, for example, lamb tagine.
- 1kg/2lb small lemons (thin-skinned, ideally)
- About 350ml/12 floz of lemon juice (this is in addition to the lemons you are preserving)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- A large Kilner style jar (I used one of the jars I used previously for raspberry gin and pickled onions)
- Wash the lemons.
- Sterilise your jar.
- Make 2 cuts in each lemon so they are in quarters (but not cut all the way through). Start at the pointy end and slice down towards the stem. Don’t cut all the way through – ensure the quarters are still joined together at the stem end.
- Carefully open out each lemon and sprinkle the inside with salt (about a teaspoon for each lemon).
- Pack the lemons into your sterilised jar and, if possible, weigh it down.
- Leave the jar of lemons to stand for 5 days, preferably somewhere slightly warm like a windowsill. Some liquid will accumulate in the bottom of the jar.
- Add your 350ml/12 floz of lemon juice. Top up with water so the lemons are covered.
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the top of the jar. This will settle on top of the liquid and stop the lemons going mouldy.
- The brine will be cloudy at first but in 3-4 weeks the liquid will clear and the lemons will be ready to eat.
The lemons should last around a year.
Stage one of the process (lemons and salt packed in my jar)
Stage 2 of the process (lemons with brine – still cloudy)