Preserved Lemons … why you should be making them now
Preserved lemons are the condiment you didn’t know you needed, but trust us, you do. The process of preserving lemons is really simple and results in a concentrated and intense lemon flavour that works beautifully in a range of dishes including casseroles, curries, salads and even in drinks. Here’s how you can make your own preserved lemons easily at home.
Firstly give the lemons a really good scrub under running water to ensure that they are nice and clean. Use 8 lemons to preserve.
Then trim the top and bottom off the lemons and make two cuts part-way through each lemon to form quarters. Make sure you don’t cut all the way through to the bottom as you want to keep the lemons attached at the bottom.
Next place the lemons in a large bowl. Mix together 2 tablespoons of sugar with half a cup of salt. Pour this mixture onto the lemons, trying to get as much into the area where you made the cuts. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and pop in the fridge overnight.
The next day you will notice that the lemons have released some juice. Add this together with the lemons to a sterilised jar. Juice an additional 3 lemons and pour the juice, along with cooled boiled water into the jar to cover the lemons completely. Seal the jar and refrigerate for 3 to 4 weeks before using. During this time the lemons will soften in the pickling liquid. The lemons will keep in the fridge for up to 6 months.
When using preserved lemons, discard the pulp and only use the peel. It is delicious added to Middle Eastern and North African dishes. Try adding some to grain based dishes or to vegetables for an instant flavour boost or add to proteins such as chicken, lamb and fish. Include some preserved lemon in home-made condiments and sauces and try it with cocktails such as a lemon margarita or lemon martini. Preserved lemon also works well in desserts, think lemon pudding, lemon cake and lemon ice-cream.