These lemons are used in many Middle Eastern and North African dishes. You can buy them but they are easy to make and go a long way. Thin-skinned lemons are best and make sure any wax or sprays have been washed off the skin. The jar you use needs to be sterilised and have a wide mouth.
- Split the lemon into 4 petals leaving the base intact. Stuff the lemon with plain sea salt (don't use your expensive gourmet salt!).
- Pack the lemons into the jar and cover. Leave for a day at least, in a cool dark place. The skins will soften and a lemony brine will have been produced.
- Try to repack the lemons more tightly into the jar and cover with fresh lemon juice. Seal and store for a month before using.
- Peppercorns, a bay leaf or a cinnamon quill, or all three, may be added to the jar for extra flavouring.
TIP To use the lemons, rinse off the brine and remove the flesh. You use the preserved skin for the flavouring. Dice and add to tagines, braises, rice or cous cous. These lemons go particularly well with fish, chicken or lamb. Once you have opened the jar, store in the fridge with the lid on. Check out some Middle Eastern recipes for more inspiration. Make a few extra jars for Christmas presents - they will be very tasty with summer barbecued lamb.