Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Preserved Lemons

Recently I made a long overdue addition to my Recipe book collection, after watching her on the telly and visiting her farm I decided it was about time I bought Maggies Harvest by Maggie Beer. For those of you who havent heard of her, Maggie Beer is a much respected and loved cook here in Australia, based in the beautiful Barrossa Valley in South Australia, Maggie has had her own TV show, makes appearances on many other cooking shows, and writes the most divine recipe books. At her farm in the Barrossa she grows her own produce and of course with all those gorgeous vinyards at her doorstep along with locally grown olive oil has "organic" at her doorstep.

So for my first recipe out of her book I chose simply, Preserved Lemons. We had heaps on our tree and I didnt want them going to waste.

To preserve lemons all you need are some reasonably large preserving jars, clean water, and salt, along with perhaps some bay leaves, or cinnamon sticks or I would think garlic cloves, peppercorns or herbs of your choice to flavour the lemons if you want. Or you could just make them plain.

I used 3 large preserving jars which i boiled in a large saucepan of water on the stove, along with their lids, for about 10 minutes, I then set them aside on a clean towel to dry and cool down..

Maggies recipe is as follows:
I used the lemons off our tree but if you dont have a lemon tree check and make sure you
use unwaxed lemons, if you cant find unwaxed ones then scrub them before preserving to remove the wax.

8 lemons washed in cold water
juice of up to 4 more lemons
150g course kitchen salt
bay leaf & /or cinnamon stick (optional)

To make the lemons as juicy as possible put them in the microwave for about a minute on medium then cool them down. Cut lemons vertically into quarters but not all the way through.Stop about 1cm above the bottom of the lemons. Place 1 tablespoon of salt in the base of the preserving jar, then push the remainder of the salt into the lemons and push them back into shape afterwards. Place each lemon in the jar, pressing down firmly to ensure you release some juice. Squeeze as many as possible into the jar then cover with lemon juice.
Leave in a cool, dry place for 6-8 weeks, depending on thge weather , for them to mature ( the warmer they are the quicker they will mature) . They will keep for years ( according to Maggie, but in our house they wont last that long as they will be used!). The longer you keep them the more intense the flavour!
and they are undeniably yummy.

Use them to stuff a chicken before roasting, chop them up and add to cake mix  or have a look at Maggies website here,she has some gorgeous recipes!   http://www.maggiebeer.com.au/search/for-recipes?term=preserved+lemons


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