This morning Olive and I set to work preserving the several kilos of lemons we've accumulated over the last few weeks. We've picked them from friends' trees, been given bag-fulls, and even bought some at the farmer's market just because they're sooo good and cheap this time of year, and we were running pretty low on preserved lemons.
If you've never tried preserved lemons before, you should give 'em a go. They're super-tasty, and super-easy to make, so you can have lemony deliciousness all year round. We mostly use them in roast chicken, or salads like this one, which also uses yummy nasturtium capers. You'll also find them in lots of middle-eastern-type recipes. Anyhoo, lemon-preserving has been a pretty regular activity in our house for a few years now, just because they're so easy, and so so delicious. All it takes is a sunshiny morning, a few bowls of lemons, some salt, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves (and, if you're lucky, a little helper or 2), and you have yourself a few months's worth of preserved lemons, plus some for friends.
We used Stephanie Alexander's method, which is to quarter your lemons, then rub them well with a lot of coarse salt (though we used fine salt this time because the co-op had run out of coarse. I think the fine was OK, but coarse is better). The juice will mostly squeeze out during this rubbing process, and you'll end up with a bunch of super-salty lemon juice at the bottom of your bowl. Then you pack the lemon quarters, with some of the juice, a couple of cloves, a bit of broken cinnamon quill and a bay leaf or 2 into sterilised jars. Wipe the rims of the jars, and put the lids on tight. Then you need to leave them to do their thang for a few weeks, or a couple of months, if you can wait that long. Like home brew, they get better the more patient you are.
After that, they'll last for years, though they probably won't last that long...