Recipe: Preserved citrus and herby salt

By Grant Allen

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Preserved citrus fruit is perfect for use in North African cooking. Photo / Michael Craig
Preserved citrus fruit is perfect for use in North African cooking. Photo / Michael Craig

This is the perfect time of the year to preserve some lemons and limes for your North African cooking. These make great pantry presents (Christmas is coming) but if you're not giving any away you don't need vast quantities.

1 Sterilise some jars. They need to be wide-mouthed and have a good screw top.

2 Wipe over the limes or lemons; thin-skinned lemons are best.

3 Cut each citrus into a "flower". Quarter with a knife but leave the base connected so you can open out 4 "petals".

4 Get some plain salt, not iodised and not your expensive salt flakes. It will be sold as cooking salt, raw salt, unbleached salt or common salt. Pack the citrus "flower" with the salt and sit in the jar, packing in as many lemons or limes as you can. Pack more salt around them.

5 Cover and leave in a cool, dark place for a few days.

6 The fruit will have softened down and allow you to pack them tighter. Squeeze in fresh juice of whichever citrus you are using, enough too fill the jar and cover the contents. Cover and seal well. Put back in a cool dark place and leave a few weeks before using. Once you open the jar, store it in the fridge.

7 To use, rinse the citrus in cold water, remove the flesh, scrape of excess pith. Use slivers of the preserved skin to flavour braises, cous cous, rice dishes and roast chicken and tagines.

Herby salt

Use woody herbs to flavour salt, such as rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and even lemon verbena might work, or citrus zest.

1 Pack plain salt into jars, layering the herb sprigs amongst it.

You can use a finer salt for this as this seasoned salt is nice to offer on the table as well as using in your cooking.

- Herald on Sunday

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