Preserved lemons, 70p a jar, or 37p if you can get Asda SP lemons
I bought 5 lemons yesterday and tried the preserved lemons recipe from H F-W’s new book, Fruit Everyday. It was extremely simple and only took a couple of minutes.
For each jam jar you want to fill, you will need 2 lemons and 2 tbslp of salt.
Give the jars a good wash, including the lids and dry them. You will need to protect the lids from the salt, so a square of cereal packet inner or something similar.
Then just cut the lemons into smallish pieces and cram them into the jar(s), tipping in 1 tbslp of salt after the first lemon, then the second tblsp after the second lemon. Put your waxed paper or similar over the top of the jar and cram the lid on. I used coarse sea salt in one jar and ordinary table salt in the other to see if there would be any difference in the finished lemons. I’ll let you know in a month or so!
Every now and again, tip the jar upside down and let the juice trickle through to the lid, then turn it right way up again.
The salt will start to draw the juice out of the lemon pieces quite quickly. You are supposed to wait for 2 days, then top up the jars with lemon juice, but I was impatient, and did it this morning, after just 1 day. I used 60ml in each jar from a bottle of KTC lemon juice, plus 60ml water.
Then just leave them for a month or more, remembering to tip them upside down every now and then.
When you open a jar, you will need to keep it in the fridge, but if you make sure the pieces are kept submerged, they should keep for a year.
Over time, the lemon pieces will darken from fresh yellow to golden brown. The darker ones are prized and many consider them better flavoured.
What to do with them? Use as a condiment and flavouring, much as you would lemon zest, bearing in mind they are now salty as well. Finely chop or slice the now tender rind and add to soups, tagines, salads etc.
Put several pieces in the cavity of a chicken before roasting, or a piece or two chopped small with a breast, and mix with soft cheese.
Try some stirred through soft cheese then use as a sauce for pasta, maybe with some olives. Or with the soft cheese and shredded carrot and spinach, topped with some roasted hazelnuts.
Or the above in a sandwich/pitta/wrap
Sometimes they are pulverised to a paste and kept in a jar in the fridge, then a little can be added to pasta sauces, to pizza toppings, to soups and stews, to couscous, anything really where you might use lemon zest or juice. I haven’t ever used them, but I understand they have a mild, very lemony flavour, different to fresh lemon, but just as good. I’m looking forward to trying them
Here is a post giving several ways to use them.
There two lovely sounding recipes here, fettuccini with preserved lemon and garlic, and a houmous, I will def be doing that one. I will be just whizzing up chickpeas, garlic, a tblsp tahini and some lemon – can’t wait for them to pickle so I can do that one. 😉
You don’t need much tahini or oil to make houmous, it tastes just as good with a little bit.
These would make a cracking gift, a jar in cellophane, maybe as a hostess gift, or in a hamper for Christmas
the lemons I bought in Sainsbugs were 30p each, if you got Asda Smartprice ones, they are 85p for 6, so 14p each. KTC lemon juice is 39p for 250ml
2 lemons per jar, 60p (or less if you can get them)
60ml lemon juice per jar, 9p