Dora's recipe: Preserved lemons
Dora's recipe looks at the history of lemons in Greece with a recipe for preserved lemons
Lemon trees have had a bumper crop this year from all the rains we've had and my neighbour gave me a whole box of them. The Greek culinary experience gives us many recipes with lemons, such as avgolemono. Lemons are used on just about everything fried, winter green salads, lemon baked chicken and lemon baked potatoes, and also sweet preserves.
It has always puzzled me why we don't preserve lemons the way the North Africans do and I can only come up with the conclusion that: Greece has plenty of them, and lemon trees need water to make abundant juicy fruit. North Africa does not have these conditions, so I will hazard a guess that conditions create a need to preserve the mighty lemon when it is not readily available because of climatic reasons. So having been handed a mighty box of lemons, I decided to make my version of Moroccan preserved lemons. It is a reasonably easy recipe, it just needs some organization in the kitchen, as you must sterilise the jars and lids. If any reader wants to know how to do this, please write to me at email@example.com
9 - 10 firm lemons (thick-skinned are best for preserving)
1 cup sea salt
3 - 4 cinnamon sticks
4 teaspoons coriander seeds 1½ black pepper corns 40 whole cloves (approximate)
7 cups water
1. Wash the lemons, scrubbing lightly with a hard brush.
2. Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the whole lemons and cook for 3 minutes.
3. Remove the lemons with a slotted spoon and plunge into cold water.
4. Empty and rinse out saucepan and combine water, salt, cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds, and peppercorns in same saucepan and bring this mixture to a boil.
5. Turn off the heat and stand aside.
6. Pat the cooled lemons dry.
7. Look at the lemon as if in quarters, as you will cut it later.
8. In each quarter, pierce with a skewer 3 holes in a row and place a clove in each hole.
9. Now cut into quarters.
10. Put the lemon quarters into sterilised jars.
11. Reheat the spice mixture to just boiling.
12. Pour on top of lemons, tucking a cinnamon stick in each and make sure that all the spices are evenly distributed. Seal with sterilised lid.
NOTE: This amount makes three jars, approximately 18 cm high x 10 cm diameter. Let stand for six weeks before using. Once opened, the lemons will keep in fridge for several months.
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