Don’t you just love the beautiful color of a lemon? The yellow reminds me so much of a new day filled with sunshine. It also takes me back to my childhood, remembering the lemon trees we all had in our backyards.
When the lemons were in season, we did not waste any time to start picking lemons, off course, guarded with a pot of salt! We peeled the lemons, added the salt, and ate it pulling funny faces because of the tartness of the lemon. We would have such a good laugh!
Well, now I have learned how to preserve this beautiful fruit which adds a variety of flavors to a dish – deep citrus, kind floral notes – to just mention a couple. It just piques your curiosity when you taste your dish with the added preserved lemon.
These salt-cured lemons have made a long journey north and west, joining the world of cuisine over the past thousand years. They add a fermented quality to dishes, that a fresh lemon just cannot do.
Now for the recipe…
- Cut the lemons from the stem end into quarters up to the base. Don’t cut right through. Open them up and fill the lemons with sea salt.
- Stack the lemons one by one in a jar. Add more salt as you go along.
- Roast coriander seeds on the side and add this to the jar. (¼ cup of coriander seeds to a 500ml jar.)
- Add 1 tsp of chopped thyme
- When the lemons are squeezed into the jar, fill the jar to the brim, with the lemon, salt, thyme and coriander seeds.
- Squeeze some lemons and fill the jar with fresh lemon juice.
- Seal and store your preserved lemons in a dark cold place for at least 4 weeks.
- Shake the jar once daily for the first week; this will clear the liquid in the jars.
How to use it:
- Thinly sliced into a salad of baby beetroots, roasted red capsicum, red onion, fresh coriander
- Try it with baby tomatoes, red onion, olive oil, crushed garlic, ground cumin and sweet paprika
- Chopped in Couscous with chickpeas, thinly sliced scallions, chopped flat leave parsley and seeded green olives
- With chicken and black pepper for a beautiful lemon and pepper chicken
- With a rack of lamb add coriander, salt pepper and thinly slice preserved lemon slices. Roast in the oven
- Lemon salsa: chopped lemon rind, chopped red chili, chopped garlic, Extra virgin olive oil, chopped parsley, chopped coriander, chopped tomatoes, chopped black olives. Eat this with grilled sardines
Sometimes 4 weeks could be a bit long when you really need to use it in one of your favourite dishes, so here’s a ‘cheat’ recipe that will give you the same flavours in a very short time:
Slice 3 lemons in thin slices
Sprinkle a pinch of turmeric, 1 tsp roasted coriander seeds and 3 tsps salt over the lemon slices.
Then squeeze out all the juice from the lemon slices, by hand, and put the lemon rinds and squeezed juice in a pickling jar. Keep for two to three hours before using it.
There is so much more you can do with these lovely lemons. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.