Knitting and London life. Not necessarily in that order.
Saturday, August 11
I know that I promised this recipe a long time ago when I published the recipe for preserved lemon, mango and coriander chutney, but I've only just got round to doing the pictures and finding a little time to post it.
It's extremely easy to make preserved lemons, and if you have a local market nearby, incredibly cheap too. Here in Deptford we can often buy six or eight lemons for £1 and so you can make a jar of these for little over a quid. They are very versatile for adding to salads, stews and so on, although so far I've only used them for chutney making.
1kg small lemons
150g good quality sea salt (I just use table salt)
1tsp black or pink peppercorns
a few bay leaves
1 tsp coriander seeds
Ideally you should use unwaxed lemons, but I would have to make a special trip to Sainsbury's or something, with no guarantee of success, so I just buy waxed ones and give them a thorough scrub with a vegetable brush first. Set aside three or four which will be juiced.
Make two deep slits lengthways through the rest of the lemons but don't cut them right through, so that the lemon stays intact. The first time I did this I left both ends attached but found it difficult to get the salt in, so the second time I just left one end intact, it was much easier.
Rub a good teaspoonful of salt into the inside of each lemon, and pack them as tightly as you can into a large pickle jar (use the ones with the screwtop lids not the ones with the swing lids as I did in the picture below - the salt will rust the metal attachment.)
As you pack them in, sprinkle the peppercorns, coriander seeds and bay leaves between the lemons along with the rest of the salt. Juice the remaining lemons and pour the lemon juice into the jars, topping up with water so that the lemons are fully covered. It will take about four weeks for the skins to go soft and for them to be ready to eat. Usually it's only the skins that are used; wash the brine off the lemon, scrape out the flesh and then chop the skins into small pieces or whatever the recipe calls for. A beautiful, intense lemon flavour!
One thing I've found is that I have had trouble keeping the top lemon fully immersed in the brine - they tend to float up to the top of the jar. If anyone has any tips for how to prevent this, please share in the comments!