A colleague of mine has a prolific Meyer lemon tree. A little over a month ago he brought me in a box of lemons which I duly took home to have a play around with. I just love Meyers, they have a wonderful, sweet aroma that pairs perfectly with both sweet and savoury dishes. Their skin is thinner and less bitter than that of a regular lemon so I love to add slivers of it to stewed fruit. I used my bounty in a simple lemon yoghurt cake, in a salad, I made some heavenly curd and then preserved some for use in a couple of months time.
Preserving lemons is a simple affair, simply pack the lemons full of salt, put in a jar and fill with lemon juice and boiling water. Seal up the jar and allow them to preserve for a month or so. They make fantastic gifts for friends and family, look fabulous in your kitchen and can be used in a number of ways; I love them with eggs, they brighten up the bitterness of kale and broccoli, they can be stirred through pasta, used in hommus and, of course, are a staple in Moroccan cuisine.
If you’re not familiar with preserved lemon then you are in for a real treat. Unlike fresh lemon, you cut away the pith and use the skins. Thinly sliced they can be added to most dishes you can think of that will benefit from a hint of sweet lemon. If you don’t have access to a tree then they are available right now at the Adelaide Showground Farmers Market from Otherwood Orchards so why not pick up a bag and have a play.
- large, wide-mouthed, lidded jars – washed and sterilised
- 1 kilo of Meyer lemons
- 1 bag of rock salt
- 2 chillies
- 2-3 cinnamon quills
- 2 star anise
- olive oil
- Scrub the lemons to remove any dirt or grime.
- Cut a cross into the lemons, cutting almost to the bottom, but not all the way through.
- Over a large bowl, hold a lemon in the palm of your hand and pack with salt.
- Gently squeeze it closed.
- Put the lemon into the jar and repeat.
- Pack the lemons into the jar, getting as many in as you can.
- Repeat until the jar is filled to the top.
- Add in the star anise, chillies and cinnamon quills as you go.
- Pour the juice and salt captured in the bowl into the jar.
- Boil the kettle and fill almost to the top with boiling water.
- Pour a layer of olive oil on the top of the lemons and seal the jar.
- Pop them in a cupboard out of the way for at least a month.
- To use simply take a lemon from the jar, cut away and discard the pith and then finely slice the skin.