When life gives you lemons, preserve ’em

When Sharon was here we discussed preserved lemons. As you do. I’d had no idea such a thing existed until I started working with Persian menus. Now I use them quite often. I buy them in little jars and, among other things, stuff roast chickens with them. They work a treat. They are also good chopped up and mixed into a salad.

Sharon said that I should make my own, claiming it was very easy and if I followed Ottolenghi’s expert advice, I’d have my own store of preserved lemons on hand whenever I wanted them. Sharon has a thing for Ottolenghi that transcends marriage.

So, armed with the simplest instructions I’ve ever followed in the kitchen, I began my first attempt a week ago. The first step is to cut, salt and seal then leave in a dark place for a week. The next step is to drown them in lemon juice and leave them for a month. Today was the drowning step.

This is interesting because the preserved lemons I buy in the small jars don’t have lemon juice. They only use water. I’m going to see how this batch goes then experiment a bit. Mind you, I reckon they’re going to be well lemon-y.

Of course, one of my problems with bottles of lemon juice is the little plastic tab that needs to be pulled off first. It makes a ‘V’ shape in the lid so a ‘dash’ can be added. (I really wish the manufacturers would give a second option of just unscrewing the lid for pouring. So many condiments would benefit from this sort of delivery system.)

The problem arises from the fact that my fingers are not the size of a five year old and, therefore, it’s a bit of a squeeze getting one through the loop. Then, generally, the loop snaps and the tab remains in place making the lemon juice inaccessible. Which explains the reason why there’s a pair of multi-grips in the photo below.

So, drowned and resealed and the jar went back into my preserving cupboard for a month.

In other news, the almshouses are almost ready with half of them appearing out of the excessive hoardings and from within the scaffolding. It’s nice to know that a few of those new roof tiles are ours.

We spent a lot of the day on the terrace, working on Mirinda’s final amendments ahead of it going back to the examiners for final final acceptance. Given it was very hot (30+) this was the best place for us.

Besides the cool, the view was pretty good too.

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