Canning food in glass was stumbled upon by Frenchman and confectioner, Nicolas Appert in the 1790’s. It’s a great way to capitalise on seasonal produce when it’s at its best and the process ensures that whatever your preserving remains fresh and sterile for months.
Although the zesty flavours of citrus fruits are reminiscent of summer, they are in fact winter fruits and are at their juiciest and sweetest in the colder months. I’m lucky enough to have a well-established lemon tree in my garden and as much as I enjoy incorporating fresh lemon into my winter dishes and drinks, there are just too many on the tree to consume! This is where preserving comes in handy.
Preserved lemon is nothing new; it’s a popular ingredient in Northern African cuisine like the tagine’s of Morocco and Cambodian cuisine too.
Preserved lemon has a secondary benefit as well – it makes great gifts!
- Rock salt
- Caster sugar
- Fresh Bay leaves
- Boiling water
- Pint size jar with screw lids
- Wash and dry the jars well and wash the lemons.
- Put the kettle on to boil the water, you’ll need enough to fill up each jar about half way.
- Cut a little bit of both end of the lemons and then cut in quarters but not all the way down, just to about ¾ so they still hold together.
- Sprinkle the salt and sugar inside each lemon and put them in the jar cut side down, sprinkle a bit more salt between each lemon.
- Press the lemons down to release the juice, the lemon juice should fill half the jar. If you don’t have enough juice you can squeeze in some more, but don’t waste the lemon you can add it with the others!
- Put 3-4 fresh bay leaves in the jar and top up with boiling water. Screw the lid on straight away. The tip them upside down to mix the salt and sugar with the liquid. You’ll to repeat that process for the first three days.
- Leave the preserved lemons to rest in the fridge or a cool cupboard for at least 4 weeks before using.
Watch the how to video below or visit my Youtube channel here for more