Preserved lemons

imageSo simple and so useful. Preserved lemons are a great way of using those extra lemons that are abundant at this time of year in New Zeland. I use these lemons all year in so many dishes, excellent with chicken and fish but also delicious added to a simple salad dressing. I usually make 2 or 3 litres every winter. imageOnly two ingredients. Although you can add extras like chilli or cinnamon if you wish but I prefer to keep mine plain, I think they are more versatile that way.

Lemons. Here I used about 12 which was just enough to fill a 1 litre jar.

Salt. Use either Himalayan or Celtic so you get then benefit of the extra minerals. I probably used about 6-8 heaped teaspoons here but it’s really not critical.

You will also need a jar or jars,  good lids that still have the rubberised bit on the inside are essential as the salt will corrode any bare metal it comes into contact with. Or use the flip top jars with the rubber seal.

Scrub your lemons in warm water then cut them into quarters. Sprinkle 1/2 a teaspoon of salt in the bottom of your jar and start adding the lemons. After each layer sprinkle in another 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt. I like to place my lemons so the skin is to the outside of the jar. It just looks prettier so why not.imageKeep adding the layers of lemons and salt pushing down on the lemons as you go, you want to be quite firm. You should be squeezing out a bit of juice as you go.imageHere you can see I have got to the top pressing down firmly with each addition, the released juice is almost up to the top of the jar. So now I just need to top up the jar with extra lemon juice. So squeeze the juice from the last couple of lemons and add to the jar with a final teaspoon of salt.

If you have pressed the lemons down firmly enough they should stay under the liquid which is what you want. Seal the jar and store in a cool dark place. They will ready to use in a month or so. They keep very well and I have heard of people keeping them for years but I normally use mine up by the time the next years ones are ready.imageTo use the lemons, remove as many as you need from the jar and pull out the fleshy inside part of the lemon and discard, it’s the skin you want, rinse the skins under water and chop as needed. The skins get quite soft after they have been salted for a while, if they are still a bit firm it just means you need to keep them a bit longer before using them. Refrigerate after opening.

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