Blogging hasn’t been on my mind over the last 6 weeks; that’s what a family crisis will do to you, on top of which I’m at the other end of the country and away from home, work and routines – just saying. . .
Before I left home, however, I picked lemons and preserved them as I find them so useful for so many dishes – soups, finely chopped into dips, sauces, lots of different rice dishes, couscous, lentils, pizza seafood toppings, tagines etc. They’re also really good sliced, with or without the preserved flesh, on fresh ciabatta with baby watercress, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
I make three different kinds of preserved lemons and limes, and use them all as and when the mood takes me – traditional pickled lemons which are very salty, but of course when finely chopped and cooked, the salt and lemon flavours just infuse into the dish. I especially enjoyed adding finely chopped lemon ( rind and flesh) to a tomato sauce with fish recently. Sometimes I just use the rind and discard the flesh, other times I use both, depending on the dish. At the beginning of the season I use a quick method because I’m an impatient type and I’ve either given my stock away or used them all – then I make a slower maturing method to enjoy and keep for the year (we can live in hope).
|Traditional (salty) preserved lemons
The latter two methods I find slightly more useful – sugar gives them more versatility, especially for adding to dips, for example, or just for dipping into for a nibble.
Preserved Limes (or Lemons)
Sealing the jars is not strictly necessary, as these preserves keep well, for at least a year. Makes 1 x litre jar, or 2 x 500g jars.
10-12 limes, depending on size
5 Tbsp rock salt (not fine)
6cm ginger, peeled and sliced
6-8 dried red chillies (optional)
Wash the limes and slice each into six, lengthways. Cover the bottoms of two sterilized 500g jars or one 1 x litre jar. The jars don’t need to be hot but should be warm, as hot syrup will be poured into them when packed.
Sprinkle over 1 tsp of the rock salt and repeat the layer of lime slices and salt, distributing the chillies and ginger between the layers.
Heat the white vinegar and the sugar in a saucepan and simmer 3-5 minutes, uncovered. Stir regularly.
Pour the syrup over the limes and screw on a hot sterilised lid (s) or clip-lid jars.
Leave at room temperature for 4 weeks, then store in a cool dark place – in this way they will keep for at least a year and should not need refrigerating. Basically, operate on the assumption that the longer they are kept, the better they will be.
While I’m at it, it’s quite uplifting to be thinking of lemons while there’s snow outside . . .exciting!
|Early morning Lake Hawea, June 20th, 2013
Posted by Rowan Bishop: rowanbishopfoodwriter.blogspot.com