After visiting the local farm shop I notice they had some large fresh lemons from Spain, so I decided to preserve some for a delicious lamb tagine recipe rather than using shop-bought ones.
You will need a 750g to a litre size sterilised jar.
- 8 unwaxed lemons
- 150g sea salt
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- Put two tablespoons of salt into the bottom of the jar.
- Take four washed lemons, keep them intact at the base, cut gently lengthways into four quarters.
- Gently pull open the lemons and sprinkle with salt both inside and out.
- Press the lemons into the jar and cover with more salt.
- Add the bay leaves to the jar, pushing them down the sides.
- Squeeze the four remaining lemons and add the lemon juice to the jar and any remaining salt.
- Ensure the lemon juice covers the lemons, otherwise top-up with water.
- Seal the jar and shake, ensuring there is a layer of salt at the bottom.
- For two weeks every day give the jar a shake and add extra salt if needed.
- Once the lemon rind has softened, they are ready to use, around 30 days, though the longer you keep them, the softer they get.
- Once opened, re-cover the remaining lemons with lemon juice or a layer of olive oil after each use.
- To use rinse off the salt and the only part of the lemon you need is the skin so scoop out the pith and flesh and finely chop the skin.
- Great to use in a lamb tagine though can also be used with potatoes, rice, pasta or served with fish.
- Other spices such as peppercorns, star anise, cardamom seeds, vanilla seeds, cloves, coriander seeds, or cinnamon stick can be used in the preserving process.
The preserved lemons will keep for 12 months if stored in a dark, cool place.