Susan Troccolo wrote about harvesting her lemons and I suggested she might like to try preserving them under salt. To make this you need either your own lemons that you know haven’t been treated in any way or organic lemons that haven’t been waxed.
Preserved lemons aren’t available to buy in Viterbo so I started making them because I had to, but now I wouldn’t ever want to be without them in the store cupboard.
From Rick Stein’s Fruits of the sea (one of the books I use all the time, the recipes are wonderful and all actually turn out the way they should!)
This recipe is so easy yet produces the most wonderful preserved lemons that can be used in any Moroccan recipe, or on winter salads or almost anywhere you want the fragrant flavour of lemons.
I follow the same recipe for limes and it works perfectly.
10 lemons, either your own or unwaxed organic
275g (10 ounces) salt
1.2 litres (2 pints) water
Cut the lemons almost into quarters, leaving them joined at one end. Sprinkle a little salt into the centre of each, then arrange them, tightly packed, in a plastic or glass container (I use Kilner jars as shown in the photographs). Bring the water and the rest of the salt to the boil in a large pan. Boil until the salt has dissolved, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Pour the brine over the lemons, weigh them down with some non-metallic weight and leave for 3-4 weeks before using. They will keep indefinitely!
If you want to use just the skin, just slide a knife between the skin and flesh.
When I make charmoula, I use the flesh of the lemon. If making a sauce or salsa the whole lemon can be blended in a food processor (remembering to remove the pips first).