Too many lemons? Preserved Lemons
Enjoying Moroccan food as much as I do, I am a big fan of preserved lemons. Years ago, when I was living in a flat in Dublin, I made a jar of preserved lemons which I didn’t have the nerve to use. So they just sat there and sat there on top of the cupboard looking like, as one visitor put it, preserved babies heads – I really don’t know what he was drinking at the time!
That batch of preserved lemons ended up the dustbin but I’m not a person to let one failure cause me to stop trying, especially when I had a lemon tree outside the door. Before we moved, I gathered a selection of ripe lemons and, using a variety of methods from a variety of places, made myself a jar of preserved lemons. They’re currently sitting on the top shelf of my pantry, happily maturing away (I hope), getting ready to be chopped into couscous, tagines, risottos, stews…
Preserved LemonsThis isn’t really a recipe so much as a hope document as I don’t really know how they’re going to turn out until I open the jar and start using them!LemonsSea saltCinnamon sticksBay leavesFreshly squeezed lemon juiceOlive oilI gathered about 10 small ripe lemons from the tree. Apparently it’s important to use unwaxed lemons or to wash them before you start in order to get rid of the preservative wax that’s normally sprayed over them.Cut them into quarters and toss them with several fistfuls of sea salt. Layer the lemon quarters, with plenty more sea salt, a couple of halved cinnamon sticks and a few bay leaves into a sterilised jar.Pour over enough freshly squeezed lemon juice to cover and top with some olive oil. Place in a cool, dark place for a couple of months to mature.When using the preserved lemons, scrape out the flesh and only use the skin.
Yeah that wax is a problem. The preserved lemons I made sat unused for a couple of years (they looked so pretty on the shelf!) and when I tossed them out you could have made lemon scented candles with the liquid inside the bottle.
It really doesn’t make you want to use them, does it! These (unwaxed) lemons look much nicer though and it’s very nice to be able to use up spare lemons from the garden in the last house too.