Preserved Lemons – with Cinnamon and Bay Leaves
When beautiful Meyer lemons hit the market tables, it’s time to make preserved lemons! Often used in Moroccan dishes, preserved lemons make for an excellent addition to so many dishes, from salads to roast vegetables, chicken or lamb and even soups.
Rather than the flesh, it’s actually the rind that you’ll be using once your lemons have matured in brine over 3-4 weeks. This means that if you’ve been making a big batch of Lemon Squashies (gelatin lollies) or something else requiring a lot of lemon juice, you can then use those rinds with the help a couple of whole lemons and that way you’re left with no waste – the epitome of whole-food cooking: utilising the all parts of a food.
Preserved Lemons – Recipe
10 thin skinned lemons (Meyer Lemons are ideal), each cut into 4-6 wedges
3-4 Bay leaves
3 cinnamon sticks
1 TBS whole black peppercorns
8 Cardamon Pods
450g Good quality sea salt
Place lemon wedges and salt into a glass / ceramic bowl and give each wedge a squeeze and a massage with the salt to release the juice
Start packing a 1L glass jar (with a tight sealing lid) with the lemon wedges. Every few layers of lemon, pop in some of the peppercorns and cardamon pods. Place cinnamon sticks and bay leaves around the side of the jar (held in place by the lemons) for added aesthetics!
Firmly press down the lemons until left with a couple of inches of space left at the top of the jar. Pour the juice and salt mix from the bowl into the jar to completely cover the lemons.
Close the jar with an air tight lid. If you are using a metal lid, place a sheet of waxed paper (cut to size) over the mouth of the jar before placing the lid on to protect the lid from rusting.
Store at room temperature for 1-3 days (depending n your climate – longer in cooler climates) and then store in the fridge for 3-4 weeks to mature before using in cooking.
Ways to use preserved lemons:
Give the lemons a rinse as you use them to remove some of the salt. It’s actually the rind you want to eat, rather than the flesh. Most recipes calling for preserved lemons require you to remove the flesh and just use the rind (and to rinse the lemons).
I often throw some wedges in amongst a tray of veggies going into the oven to roast – with or with flesh attached.
Tastes fantastic with roast chicken – blend with preserved lemon with some coconut oil or ghee and herbs like rosemary or tarragon or thyme. Place dollops of the herbie-fat mixture on the chiken or slide some under the skin of the chicken.
Season a lamb shoulder with roughly chopped rinds of preserved lemons before slow roasting (I like to add plenty of garlic and rosemary too).
Delicious finely chopped and mixed into salads
Can be used in dips (e.g. artichoke and preserved lemon dip)