Preserved lemons have a strong association with Middle Eastern and North African cooking and their unique zesty, salty yet aromatic flavour add a brilliant addition to loads of different dishes. They are ready to use from about four weeks of making, scoop them out of the jar, rinse well and chop them up quite finely. Then you can add them to almost everything!
For example stir them into tagines, casseroles, hummus, couscous, roasted vegetables, fish curries and homemade chutneys. They are also brilliant chopped up finely and added to homemade mincemeat adding a fantastic and unusual flavour to your Christmas mince pies.
They are easy to prepare and make unusual and delicious home made presents, especially at Christmas as they look so beautiful!
Salt is all you need to preserve lemons, but adding different herbs ‘n’ spices and extra lemon juice gives them that special aromatic flavour. The addition of lemon juice allows you to use less salt and prevents the lemons from becoming too salty.
Sea salt is better than table salt when it comes to preserving your lemons. Table salt tastes too strong I think, almost chemical in taste.
Pink peppercorns are not true peppercorns but have a similar aroma and a fantastic pungent sweet, peppery and pungent flavour. Their brilliant pinky red colour looks fantastic when you see them floating in the clear glass jar mixed with the sunny yellow from the lemons and the vibrant green from the bay leaves.
- 4 unwaxed lemons, cut into quarters, deseeded
- juice of 4 lemons
- 4 heaped tbsp sea salt
- 2 heaped tsp dried pink peppercorns
- 6 fresh or dried bay leaves
- Sterilise two 300ml jam jars/kilner jars.
- Put four lemon quarters into a jam jar/preserving jar. Spoon over one heaped tablespoon of sea salt, 1 heaped teaspoon of pink peppercorns and three bay leaves.
- Pack four more lemon quarters into the same jar and another heaped tablespoon of sea salt. Push down well. Pour over the juice from two lemons ensuring all of the lemon pieces are submerged.
- Repeat step 2 and 3 for the remaining jar.
- Seal with lids as the jars need turning for the first five days then label. They look lovely with a couple of bay leaves tied around the rim of the jar with raffia or string.
- The preserved lemons can last for up to a year or even longer if kept submerged in the brine.
- Once opened keep in the fridge.
You can use different herbs and spices to flavour your preserved lemons.Try different flavour combinations using cinnamon sticks, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns and green cardamom pods.
These jars of lemony loveliness are ready to cook with in four weeks and will add that bit of yummy difference to whatever you are cooking. So if you get going and make them now they will be ready to use in your kitchen this Christmas and beyond!