12 Jan WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS, PRESERVE THOSE SUCKERS
So, Gwyneth Paltrow was recently papped manning a homemade lemonade stall with her kids. She’s not the only ‘lifestyle writer’ who can do stuff with lemons, you know. Here at Ladyland, we can’t make any smug references about whipping up preserved lemons for our ‘dear friend William Joel’, but here’s my super-simple method for bottling a bit o’ sunshine, which we could all use a bit of, now the world is in the grip of polar vortexes and such. You don’t need to be a domestic-goddess-know-it-all to get into preserving – this is a once a year job that takes minutes, and, if you ever need a last-minute gift for someone, this works a treat.
I’m a bit loose with quantities here, because I add salt and spices according to what looks prettiest. Is that shallow of me?
- Preserving jars – or just recycle old jars from the supermarket
- A whole lotta lemons – I used 3 whole lemons and the juice of 6
- Coarse sea salt
- Cinnamon sticks – one per jar
- Fresh bay leaves
- Coriander seeds
1. Sterilise your jars by placing them in boiling water for 10 minutes. Allow the glass and lids to cool before handling them!
2. Slice your lemons as if you’re cutting wedges, but make sure the ends stay intact.
3. Rub the lemons with the salt, making sure to get some into the cuts. Pop them into your jar – it might take some almighty squeezing to get some lemons through the neck.
4. Add your cinnamon and bay leaves, stuffing them in at the outer edge so you can see them. Sprinkle in a handful of coriander seeds.
5. Pour in the salt until the jar is three-quarters full. Shake things around so the coriander seeds and salt are evenly distributed in all the nooks and crannies.
6. Juice enough lemons to fill your jars right up. Place them in a cool, dark spot for the magic to happen, and in 4 weeks they’re ready. Transfer them to the fridge once you open the jar.
So what do you do with the stuff? Cut out the flesh, and give the rind a quick rinse before using. Preserved lemons are essential for tagines and loads of Moroccan dishes, but try finely chopping the rind and adding it to couscous, salads, a simple garlic and parmesan pasta, or stir it through homemade hummus (or pimp a store-bought one) to give it some serious zing.
Photography & styling: Selina Altomonte