Thursday, 13 September 2012

home made preserved lemons

I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was sick of paying $10 for 250g of preserved lemons, when I could buy a bag of lemons for a few dollars. So the other week I made myself some home made preserved lemons.
I'd like to say they turned out amazingly deliciously lemony, but unfortunately I have to wait around 2 months for them to preserve before I can taste them, and for those that know me well (or even a little bit) they know I'm probably the least patient person in the world. So, 2 months waiting to see if a dish will work seems like FOREVER. So, in the mean time, I have to avoid dishes with preserved lemons in them and post up the home made preserved lemon recipe I found. This is another Moro recipe from their Casa cookbook.

10 unwaxed, organic lemons, washed + 8 extra lemons
1 kg coarse sea salt
3 cinnamon sticks, broken up roughly
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tsp cloves
5 small dried red chillies (I couldn't find these, so I just used chilli flakes)
5 bay leaves (preferably fresh)
A 1.5ltr preserving jar (or three smaller ones)

Sterilise your preserving jars. I do this the cheats way, and wash them in a hot rinse cycle in my dishwasher then stick them in a oven at 120 degrees celsius for 30mins.

Juice the 8 extra lemons.
Take the unwaxed lemons and cut a cross on the top of it, then continue to cut about two thirds of the way down. Open each one out slightly, push some of salt inside and press it together again.  
Put a layer of salt down the bottom of one of the jars.
Then sprinkle in a little bit of each of the spices.
Put the lemon with salt in it on top, pressing it down a bit.
Continue to layer the salt, spices and lemons more or less evenly in the jar, pressing everything down so that some of the juice comes out of the lemons.
When it's pretty much full, top with a bit of salt and fill up with the lemon juice, making sure there are no big air bubbles left down the bottom.
Close the jar and repeat with the other jars, if there are any. Store them at room temperature for about 2 months, or until the lemons are soft all the way through, which for me is the toughest bit!

When my lemons are done, I'll let you know how they taste, and find a lovely recipe to put up with them in it. I already have a tasty Jamie Oliver recipe with quinoa and salmon in mind...mmm...

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