Preserved lemons are one of my favourite flavours. I use preserved lemon a lot in my cooking, and they are so pricey to buy and preserving lemons is so easy to do! Here are two ways to preserve lemons – salted lemons and lemons in honey.
Because money is tight here, and I can’t afford to buy produce out of season, this preserved lemon recipe is perfect for allowing me to have that fresh lemon flavour all year round.
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Winter is the time of year when lemons finally become affordable to frugal stingy bums like me.
It is very convenient that it is also cold season and lemons are amazing for traditional cold remedies like lemon and honey drink – 2T lemon juice, 1/2-1t honey + hot water. Or check out my home made cough syrup. Isn’t nature clever?
Every year when lemons hit under $2 a kg ($1 a pound) I buy a large bag (or two!) and preserve them. Preserved lemons are traditional in Moroccan/north African cooking, but I sneak them in lots of things including curry, coleslaw, yogurt and garlic sauce for dona kebabs.
Preserving them not only makes them last longer but it removes that bitterness and brings out the pure lemony goodness. Today a whipped up a 3L glass jar full for our years supply, here is how you can do it too:
Easy Preserved Lemons Recipe
1 -1.5kg lemons, (preferably Meyer lemons as they are sweeter)
1/4- 1/2 cup salt
A very large jar
1). Wash your lemons with a tiny amount of detergent. This removes the wax they coat them in to make them look pretty.
2). Trim the stalk ends off lemons, taking care not to cut into the flesh, then slice the lemons as if to quarter them but still keep the base of the lemon intact.
3). Sprinkle the interior of each lemon with about a tablespoon or so of salt then layer in your mason jar, crock or fermentation device, you really have to squish them in there, just be careful you don’t break your jar!
4). In the top of the jar add a further 2-3T of salt
5). Mash with a wooden spoon/rolling pin or large dowel until the rinds of the lemon begin to soften and the lemons release their juice.
6). Add 2-3 extra lemons worth of juice to cover everything up until your lemons fill the jar and rest below the level of the brine.
7). Ferment at room temperature for three to four weeks. Open the jar every few days for the first 2-3 weeks to release any gas build up to prevent your jar cracking.
Lemons can be kept for one to two years, most recipes suggest in the fridge, but I have always kept mine at room temperature with no problems.
Preserving lemons in honey
Another way I love to preserve lemons is to preserve them in honey. We use raw fresh honey because my mother has been hives and keeps us in ample supply. But making this real lemon honey is super easy.
1 cup of honey
Wash and dry the lemons and cut them in to 1/4 inch (5mm) slices. Layer a few slices of lemon in the bottom of your jar, drizzle over a large spoonful of honey.
Continue to layer up until you run out of lemon slices. Add another spoonful or two of honey and set the brew aside to ferment for a day or two on the bench.
Shake the jar daily.
After 2 or so days you can move your jar to the refrigerator. The lemon honey is lovely scooped out and added to boiling water to soothe a sore throat.
The pieces of lemon can be used in tea, on top of cereal or yogurt, or added in to cakes.
Unlike preserving lemons in salt, preserving lemons in honey will not remove the bitterness from the pith, so it is best to remove the skins before eating or cooking them.
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