Zesty, citrus preserved lemons in jars create such a welcome bright light in any kitchen. They are great in North African, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, and work well wherever fresh lemons do — with fish, white meats such as chicken and rabbit. Once opened, keep a jar of your own preserved lemons in the fridge to give an instant zing to salads, or finely dice it into paellas, tagines, couscous and rice.
- 4 large lemons, washed, each cut into 6 wedges
- 1 cup cooking salt
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 10 peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cardamom pods
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Makes enough to fill a 1 litre jar
Preheat oven to 180°C (360°F). Wash a 1 litre jar in hot soapy water and rinse well. Place onto a tray and dry the jar in the oven for approximately 10 minutes. This will sterilise the jar.
Place the lemon wedges and salt into a large non-reactive bowl. Massage the salt into the lemon, squeezing the juice out of the flesh of the lemons.
Arrange the lemon wedges in the cooled jar with the skin of the lemons facing out. Arrange the cinnamon stick, peppercorns, bay leaves and cardamom pods as you go. Pack down tightly.
Pour the lemon juice and salt from the bowl into the jar, ensuring the lemon pieces are well covered. Seal the jar with a non-reactive lid and leave at room temperature for one day. Turn the jar to disburse the salt and juice through the lemon then leave to cure in the refrigerator for 1 month before use. They will keep for up to 12 months.
the food dept. facts
• To use preserved lemon, cut away pith and flesh leaving the rind. Wash the rind and use as required. If the rind seems a little salty for your taste, allow it to soak in water for 10 minutes, drain and use.
• Create your own signature blend by mixing up the herbs and spices, try adding rosemary or add some heat with a chilli and coriander combination.
• To make a jar of marinated olives – cut preserved lemon rind into julienne and toss with Kalamata olives, sliced garlic, continental parsley leaves and cover with olive oil.
Photography by Petrina Tinslay, styling by David Morgan and art direction by Anne Marie Cummins.