I love it when I visit friends and they have a tree laden with fruit that they are not using.  In no time at all I have asked them if I can pick some and take them home. Seems such a pity to waste good produce. I don’t mind if it’s wild or cultivated as long as no one is using it, I will bring a bucket and fill it to the brim. On this occasion it was Lemons. Big juicy bumpy lemons. With Christmas coming up I like to try and make a few home made goodies to give to people and preserved lemons are always so handy in the pantry. I use them especially for Moroccan recipes but you can roast a chicken that has been marinated in preserved lemons and garlic, or fish of course.

Citrus always reminds me of Sicily and takes me back to last year when we visited the husba’s relatives. We went to the farm and picked bucket loads of oranges and lemons. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful life to just wander out to your farm and pick the produce you need.

Well I may not have a farm but I still manage to procure my share of free produce. I hope this will inspire you to preserve some lemons too.

I used the Women’s Weekly recipe and modified it slightly.

Preserved lemons

8 medium lemons (1.1kg)
11/2 cups (450g) rock salt
5 fresh bay leaves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 cup (250ml) lemon juice

1. Halve lemons lengthways, carefully cut each lemon half in half again without cutting all the way through. Open lemon halves out slightly.
2. Squeeze lemons over a large non-metallic bowl to catch the juice. Add lemons to bowl with salt, bay leaves and seeds. Mix well.
3. Pack lemon mixture into 1.5-litre (6-cup) sterilised jar. Pour enough of the juice into the jar to cover lemons. Place a sealed small plastic bag filled with water on top of the lemons to keep them submerged then seal jar. Label and date jar.

Notes: Store preserved lemons in a cool, dark place for at least three weeks before using. Refrigerate after opening. To use, remove and discard pulp, squeeze juice from rind, rinse rind well, then slice according to the recipe. Cinnamon sticks or chillies can be added to the preserved lemons in step 2.

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