Preserved Lemons (or Limes)

The simplest recipe of all – just pickled in their own juice and salt. I keep an eye out for bags of the small, round, thin-skinned ones you sometimes see in Leeds Market around February or March; they are slightly sweeter than the normal ones you get – and silly cheap!

Ingredients

  • A 0.75l Kilner jar will take 15 or more of these small lemons (or use limes)
  • Salt (lots of)

Method – rather a grand name for something so simple and straighforward

  • Wash and sterilise the jar (in the oven for ten minutes, at 100C); leave to cool.
  • Wash and dry the fruit. Cut off the “heads” and “tails”, and cut each fruit almost through into quarters, to about one centimetre from the end.
  • Put 2 tablespoons salt in the base of the jar; stuff about a tablespoon of salt into each fruit, and press into the jar, juicy face down. Pack and fill the jar. Enough juice should be released to completely cover the fruit – if not, squeeze another lemon or two and add their juice. Add a final tablespoon of salt on top.
  • Seal the jar and store somewhere cool and dark for about three weeks; turn the jar occasionally to redistribute the salt.
  • When the peel has softened and is ready to use, pop into the fridge to store.

Often used in North African stews to add a special lemony flavour. Some recipes will call for the whole fruit, others will discard the salty flesh and just use the preserved peel.

Optional – add a few spices for interest. For each jar of lemons, maybe add a bay leaf, an allspice berry, and 5-6 black peppercorns for each jar. Or for limes, a red chilli and 5-6 black peppercorns. Or try an altogether spicier version.

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