Preserved Lemons, take your meal from zero to hero!

Preserved Lemons, take your meal from zero to hero!

I recently came into a lot of lemons. Our neighbours and a work colleague offloaded their goodness onto me, and I am so grateful! There was no way my normal lemon usage (which is quite high) would get through these babies while still at their peak, so preserving was decided. If you have never made preserved lemons before, put it on your ‘must do’ list right now!! Not only is it fun, but you will be left with one of THE best condiments that adds much more than flavour to your food. Preserving and fermenting food in this way encourages the proliferation of good bacteria, which then go crazy producing vitamins, enzymes, breaking down phytic acid and proteins, and helping us to digest properly. Eating this good bacteria also helps to maintain a healthy gut and digestive system. 

And the best thing is you can sneak them into almost anything! Slice them finely and add to sauteed vegetables and stir frys, braises and sauces. Mix through dips or tepenades, rice and couscous dishes, salad dressings, sorbets, curries, and of course anything Moroccan. Hummus on a cracker? Nice. Add a fine slice of preserved lemon – TASTE EXPLOSION! You get the idea. Check out this recipe for Israeli Couscous with Roasted Butternut Squash and Preserved Lemon. Note that as there is quite a bit of salt used in the making, anything you add them to will take this on also, so tone down any other salt in the dish.

Preserved Lemons
5 lemons – organic or home grown please as you are eating the skin
3 tablespoons-ish of good quality sea salt – not table salt
Extra lemons for extra juice
A cinnamon stick (optional)
A bay leaf (optional)
A sprinkle of coriander seeds (optional)

Wash the lemons, cut the end

How to make jam

How to make jam

Making jam may not seem like the most nutritionally dense activity, but as a new jam lover I felt that it was an appropriate first post! I’m usually much more of a tahini and honey or nut spread kinda girl, but after making a batch of mouthwatering strawberry and blueberry jam for christmas presents, I am still enjoying the fruits of my labour – ha! Home-made jam on some sort of dense sourdough with butter has served as a delightful change – it makes me feel all grown up and lady-like!

Preserving is such a wonderful way to use ripe fruit, changing its form into something you  can enjoy for months. Traditionally we have used this process of slowing the decay of food so that it was available even when the fruit was out of season. Supermarkets and the like have severed this connection with seasonal eating by making anything available year-round, leading us to pay more and sacrifice taste and quality. Reconnecting with seasonal eating is so important not only for taste and quality, but it costs less. For more info on which fruits and vegetables are in season, click here.

Home-made jam is unbelievably delicious, and inexpensive to make.

There are loads of recipes around, but I love Jude Blereau’s universal jam recipe from Coming Home to Eat. It is a low sugar jam recipe that gives such an amazing result, my mouth is watering as I write this!

Most jam recipes use equal quantities of sugar and fruit by weight. You really don’t need this much sugar, but by reducing the sugar content you will get a jam that is less firm, or has a softer ‘set’ than commercial types. I like this though.

Also note that if you are making jam with low pectin and …