Preserved Lemon Confit
Updated: Feb 1
Preserved lemons in salt, made with local and organic citrus is an indispensable pantry staple!
I have always loved food and drinks with lemon flavours but when I moved to Australia I discovered many more versatile uses of the citrus fruit. Having the privilege to live where they can grow in the backyard is something that cannot be enjoyed where I come from, in Canada. Not only can you find them fresh out here, they are organically grown and free from pesticides, unlike like most of the commercial ones. My little trees are just starting to fruit but I know some people that have big established trees with lots of fruit to share. I have been given bags of them to do some cooking experiments and my two favourite things to do so far if I get a lot are the cordials and the preserved lemons. My mum introduced me to these “citron confits” a few years ago and I did my first experiments that did not work so well. After taking a citrus cooking workshop at Nest with Louise from Highfield Farm and Woodlands, I understood better how they should be made successfully. Since then, I have found the confidence to explore many recipes with preserved lemons. I make a batch of jars each year because I just loooove them. The other thing I discovered in this learning curve is that some varieties of lemons do better than others. I find that the Meyer lemons are “les meilleurs” (the best). It's a very sweet and juicy type of lemon, a cross between a citron and mandarin. It is my favourite variety for making preserved lemons.
Enjoying the taste of homemade preserved lemons © Bottle and Brush Studio 2020-21
So, how to prepare and use preserved lemons? Well, there are many different ways to make them and there are no limits of creativity to cook with them. The basic way is pretty simple, simply cut wedges of organic lemon and squish them into a jar with salt and plenty of lemon juice to cover it all. The rinds will soften and cure for weeks stored in cool dark place, before being ready to use. They are normally ready by spring if you make them in winter during the citrus season. They can be made with other sorts of citrus and you can add some spices and bay leaves in the jar as well. When you open up a jar it can be stored in the fridge for up to a year. You only need a wedge or two (or more depending on recipes but too much could be very intense), keep or remove the pulp, and chop it to add into tajines (as it is a favourite condiment in Moroccan cooking) and anything else you like! I love them in BBQ marinades like this Tasty Grilled Chicken, sprinkled on fish, couscous, salads, rice, artichokes, etc. They add a savoury citrus flavour and sunny looking colour that awakens your senses on fresh seasonal dishes.
Stay tuned for all recipes in my upcoming book!