Preserving lemons is very simple, you need lemons and salt, although you can add a bay leaf or cinnamon stick if you so desire.
It is the perfect time to preserve lemons, they are currently in peak season, full of flavour and easy to source. Preserved lemons add a fabulous piquant flavours to many dishes: roast chicken, slow cooked lamb shanks, lamb roast, couscous, roasted vegetables and halloumi just to mention a few that I have tried. As I continue to add to my recipe library I will certainly include some of the above. I just need to remember to take photos before I devour the food, a challenge I am still mastering.
It doesn’t take long nor you do not need a lot of lemons, one or two jars keeps me going most of the year, although I always make extra as give aways. I’ve recently been given a couple of bags of lovely home-grown pesticide free lemons, I realised today that I really needed to get onto the job as I’m heading away tomorrow for a month. I made 2.5 lites worth and it took me less than 30 minutes.
I’m going to share the recipe for about 8 lemons, I don’t generally measure ingredients, you can’t make too many mistakes, but this guide will help get you started if you are new to preserving lemons.
- 8 lemons total
- 250 grams salt – just ordinary table salt is fine
- Bay leaves and cinnamon sticks (optional)
- 1 x 1 litre jar sterilised (or a couple of smaller ones)
Wash the lemons well.
Cut the lemons (5 of the 8) lengthways in 4, do not cut all the way through so they are held together, although I do separate a couple of pieces if I’m trying to squash more into the jar.
Place a couple of teaspoons of salt in the bottom of the jar.
Place a tablespoon of salt into each lemon cover all of the cut sides. Place the lemons into the jar, repeat with 5 of the lemons. Dont be afraid to push them tightly this helps release the juice.
Juice the remaining 3 lemons and add the liquid to the jar, all of the lemons should be covered with juice, although more will release over time. You can add a cinnamon stick and a couple of bay leaves if you wish.
Put the lid on and tada….. you have your preserved lemons- well in about 4 weeks.
Place in a cool dark cupboard for at least a month. If needed you can add more lemon juice at any time if it they are looking a little dry. I would keep the jar in the fridge once you open it.
When using preserved lemons, you just use the skin, and a small amount generally chopped finely as they become very strong in flavour from this process.