Lemon peel contains twice the amount of vitamins in lemon flesh, and has a more intense flavour than the juice, with a hint of bitterness. Once fermented, the flavours mellow and the peel softens. Preserved lemons work brilliantly in small quantities in both sweet and savoury dishes.
The majority of shop-bought versions are devoid of live bacteria, and in our experience can have an industrial mouthwash taste to them. So it is well worth making your own...
6-7 large unwaxed lemons, preferably organic
1 heaped tbsp Maldon sea salt
1 tbsp live apple cider vinegar
½ tsp coriander seeds (optional)
You will also need:
250ml glass jar with well-fitting lid
Wash the lemons. Cut them in half and squeeze some of the juice from each into the jar. Then cut the halves in half again. Slice each lemon quarter finely, discarding the seeds and some pith.
Pack the slices tightly into the jar, scattering a generous pinch of salt between the layers until it is used up. Use a wooden spoon or the end of a rolling pin to squash the lemon slices down and force out the air bubbles. There should be enough juice to cover them. Put in the vinegar. If necessary, top up with salted filtered or spring water, using 1 heaped tsp sea salt to 200ml water.
As it’s an anaerobic process, prevent contact with the air by covering the surface with a small dish or a boiled clean pebble before closing the jar.
For the first few days you need to ‘burp’ the lemons a couple of times a day to release any trapped bubbles produced by fermentation. This means pressing them down so that they are always submerged. Leave them to ferment at room temperature for between 5 days and 2 weeks. Then store them in the fridge to prevent further fermentation.