The other night I watched Michael Pollan’s COOKED series on Netflix. It is a beautifully-made documentary based on his book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. One of the episodes focuses on air and spores and the magic of fermentation. As a good Eastern European mix, I have had my full share of krauts and preserved meats and as of late, have become very interested in Middle-Eastern influenced cuisines. I first encountered Preserved lemon via Ottolenghi. Hesitant at first, thinking the smell was like floor cleaner, I used a quarter of the recommended amount. As I’ve become more brave, I’ll brazenly chop into those shriveled little orbs and enjoy the extraordinary flavor they impart to any dish.
- 5-6 Lemons, Washed
- 1/2 Cup Sea Salt (Coarse or Fine)
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 tsp each: Fennel & Coriander seeds, Whole Peppercorns
- 2 Small Cinnamon Sticks
- 1 16oz Large Ball Jar (lid and container sterilized)
- Juice of 4 Lemons (about 2 cups) NO SUBSTITUTIONS HERE!
Set up your jar in a wide mouthed bowl or dish to catch any drippings
- Either keep lemons whole, slicing almost down to the bottom, or cut into wedges, generously salting inside and out
- Continue adding lemon wedges and salt, whilst adding aromatics as you go
- Add freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Store in a warm place, shaking jar from time to time
Ready in about a week – ideally a month and will keep for up to a year
Rinse quickly before using – a white film sometimes grows, simply wash this off too
Add to salad dressings, stews, vegetables for an extra and unexpected zing! (Try in your next cocktail too!)