How to preserve lemons
When life gives you lemons, preserve them!
Preserving lemons is perfect for when your tree is dripping with fruit or when they are super cheap in shops.
The best thing is, they are easy to make and will last for ages.
Preserved lemons are a great addition to many meals. They are often used in Middle Eastern cooking and add a subtle lemon flavour to stews, tagines, pastas and salads.
What you need:
- 5-6 whole ripe lemons, or as many as you wish to preserve
- Extra freshly squeezed lemon juice (2-4 lemons depending on the size of your jar)
- Rock salt
- Bay leaves & star anise (optional)
- Whole peppercorns
- Jars – you will be putting the lemons whole into the jar, so make sure the mouth of the jar is wide enough to fit your lemons through
1. Start by sterilising your jars.
2. Once you have done that, wash the lemons to remove any dirt. If they are store bought lemons, give them a good scrub to remove any wax residue. Pat dry.
3. Cut the top off each lemon (where the stem is). Make two cuts in each lemon (so you’re cutting it into quarters), slicing three quarters of the way through each lemon, so the whole lemon remains intact. Open the lemon up and add 1 teaspoon of salt into the middle.
4. Add a tablespoon of salt to the bottom of the jar.
5. Place the whole lemons into the jar (cut side down), pressing down on each one as you add them to release their juices.
6. Once all the lemons are in the jar, top it up with fresh lemon juice. Add peppercorns and your favourite spices into the jar, then seal. Do not add water – they will preserve perfectly in their own lemon juice.
Leave the lemons for a couple of weeks (in your pantry, not the fridge) to give them time to preserve. After 2-3 weeks they will be ready to use.
To use, rinse lightly, discard the flesh and finely chop the rind. Preserved lemons will last sealed for several months in your pantry.