Buying seasonal not only means you get produce at its cheapest, it also means you are buying it in its peak condition. The other day, I saw sensational limes for $2.99 – so bought 2 bags. Outside of the season, limes can be nearly $2 just for one !
I immediately came home and made my lime and mint juice. After admiring the beauty of the limes in the fruit bowl for a day or two and contemplating a Mojita or Frozen Margarita party – I decided it was safer if I preserve them !
First – I cut all the limes (and a couple of lemons) into quarters without cutting right the way through one end. This allows the fruit to be opened up and packed with salt whilst still holding its round shape.
I decided to try two different methods of preserving to see which I preferred.
The first version was inspired by Greg Malouf’s recipe from Arabesque. Greg’s recipe was uses Claudia Roden’s method. This involves freezing the fruit for 24 hours (after you have sliced it as described above). You then thaw the fruit completely and stuff them with rocksalt. The freezing reduces the preserving time to only one month instead of three.
After you fill the fruit with the salt, top up the jar with some honey, lemon juice and spices. I used cinnamon and coriander seeds. Top up with boiling water. Greg’s version involved boiling the jar on the stove but too much trouble for me !
The second was Maggie Beer’s version using just salt and some lemon juice. Here’s Maggie’s recipe. Seriously, this couldn’t be easier. I used this with just limes.
So my limes now have to sit for at least a month before they will be ready. They will last for months (possibly even longer). Once you open your jar and start using them, pop them into fridge.
If you make a big quantity and are lucky enough to have a vacuum sealer, then it would be great to split them into small bags and seal them up.
Given the cost of preserved lemons and the simple process involved in making your own, it really makes sense.
I will report back on which version I preferred, but in the meantime, while limes and lemons are cheap….why don’t you give it a try yourself.