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Sunday, 11 August 2013

PRESERVED LEMONS

Good Morning to you,


Last week I mentioned that I would be making some preserved lemons as my stock is running low..... well I am actually down to my last preserved lemon.

Preserved lemons might be something which you are not familiar with, but preserved lemons are used a great deal in Moroccan cooking, where they form an integral part of the flavouring of a traditional tagine.

There are a number of ways to preserve lemons, they can be preserved in lemon juice,  they can be pickled  in brine or you can even boil the lemons in brine and preserve them in oil.

Bay leaves and peppercorns can be added, but I prefer to make mine the traditional Moroccan way, which is to salt them and preserve them in lemon juice.



So let us begin.... it's on with the apron and the music I am listening to and thoroughly enjoying is,  


Dusty Springfield.  I used to listen to Dusty Springfield when I was a teenager I loved the songs "I Only Want To Be With You" and "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" do you know, I still love listening to her music today.

INGREDIENTS


6 teaspoons of sea salt
please do not use table salt


5 large thick skinned lemons
plus
6 more lemons to juice


1 large Kilner jar, washed and sterilized in your normal way.


1 wooden skewer cut in two

METHOD


Wash the lemons and then dry them
then remove the stem


Cut each lemon into quarters, but do not cut right through,
cut so that the lemon still holds together


Ease the lemon slightly apart and
sprinkle the lemon with a teaspoon of sea salt,
then repeat and
 salt the other four lemons


pack them, one by one into the  sterilized jar


press the lemons into the sterilized jar so they are packed
together, sprinkle with the final teaspoon of salt,
then close the jar


Leave for six days and you will notice that the lemons 
have released some of their juices.
This was the juice released after two days,
shake the jar every couple of days,



and this is the juice released after 4 days.
At this point you will find the skins have softened a little .


JUICE  SIX LEMONS


plus


Six lemons

It is always hard to know exactly how many lemons
you will need to juice, to cover the preserved lemons,
 as it depends on how much lemon juice each lemon yields.
I thought four lemons would be enough, but I  found I had to 
juice two more.
So always keep a couple of lemons in reserve.
  


On the sixth day, open the kilner jar and you will hear 
a slight hiss.


Add the lemon juice to the jar, then press the
lemons down as much as you can, making sure
the lemons still hold their shape.
This masher is from India and it is perfect
for the job, but a potato masher is fine to use.


Place the cut wooden skewers crossways into the
 jar to hold down the lemons. 
The wooden skewers need to be a little
larger than the neck of the jar to keep the lemons
submerged in the lemon juice.
You will have to press hard to make sure the
skewers sit above the lemons


Replace the lid and store in a dark cupboard for at least 
a month.  I tend to leave them for five to six weeks
as the longer they are left, the better the flavour.


Remember the lemons which we juiced, well do not
throw the skins away.  Grate them to use on another day.


Place the grated rind into an ice cube tray.  I add a teaspoonful of grated rind to each cube, so when I need to use
the lemon rind in the future, I know what weight
each cube is, 
then place in the freezer until needed.

Look..... I even have heart shaped ice cube trays,
 how fabulous is that.


When the preserved lemons are ready, they will have reduced in size quite a bit, but don't worry about how they look, as I grant you, they are not the prettiest lemons to look at, but the flavour is superb. When cooking with the preserved lemons the salt is washed away and the pulp is removed.  Only the skins are used.

I mentioned that preserved lemons can be added to tagines, but strips  of preserved lemon can also be added to lamb or chicken dishes.  You will find that the flavour is quite mild and sweet, despite the salt which has been used to preserve them.  These little lovelies will keep for about six to nine months.

So in six weeks time, you will see these preserved lemons in their new guise and we will cook a recipe together...... you will not be disappointed.

Take care and I will see you later in the week.

This week I will be joining,

and





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