It is worthwhile to make preserved lemons at home. They are quick, easy and much cheaper than how you buy. These lemons are ready after 2 months. Once ready, to use in cooking, you only need the rind. Use a knife to take out the flesh, discard, and give the skin a quick wash with cold water. Then slice or dice away to your heart’s content. Fine slices of preserved lemon can go well on top of many meat and fish dishes and salads. Finely diced preserved lemon also takes home-made aioli to another level. Unwaxed lemons should be used.
After finding beautiful, big lemons at the markets for $3 kilo unwaxed I filled a few jars with preserved lemons.
Makes enough to fill a 2.4 litre jar. The large jars are at the back of the photo, but the way I have written up the method means that as long as you have a jar, lemons and salt, you can follow the same process – it will just end up as less or more salt and lemons.
Some recipes say to add lemon juice. We have made preserved lemons both ways and don’t think it makes a difference, it just wastes lemons that could be preserved. I guess as you squash each layer down the lemons release their juices, so lemon juice is added without the extra dish of a juicer – bonus!
Cass made a jar so I could take progress shots and then I made the next jar to measure the quantities for the recipe.
Around 8-10 medium-large unwaxed lemons
About 125-150g of salt
Sterilise your jar(s):
Turn your oven up to about 100 degrees.
Remove the seal(s), and wash the jar(s) in warm soapy water.
Give a rinse with cold water and place upside down in the oven for a couple of minutes – until jars are dry.
Fill the sink with some cold water and give the lemons a quick wash.
Start with 2 tablespoons of salt at the bottom of your jar. Layer with quarters of lemons as you go. About 3-4 quarters, then sprinkle with about a tablespoon of salt. Place lemons in so that they face outwards and squash down each layer as you go.
Once you are at the top and can’t fit any more lemons in, sprinkle 1 (2 if a larger jar) tablespoons of salt over the top and fill the jar with cold water. Press down as you add the water.
Once the jar is totally filled with water and lemons, add another tablespoon of salt at the top. Wipe down the lid, put the seal back, and seal the jar. Turn the jar upside down to move the salt around.
Every 2-3 days for about 2 weeks, turn the jars upside down to move the salt around. If the lemons start to stick up above the water, you can add more water and salt. Shot glasses (or specialised weights) can also be added to keep them down.