Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Preserved Limes


Here is another splendidly simple recipe for preserving citrus fruit.

I learned the method from Nigella Lawson's Domestic Goddess cookbook (an all time favorite!) Her recipe for Edith Afif's Lime Pickles includes turmeric, cumin seed, and dried chili, they are very enjoyable. Brilliant Edith (a native of Egypt), figured out that coating the limes in salt and then putting them in the freezer tenderized the limes perfectly.

I love Ediths' pickles, they are delightful with a mild, creamy goat cheese and a heap of warm walnut halves as a appetizer.

I also like to have a jar of limes on hand, preserved "straight-up".

Limes and other citrus are at their peak in the winter months, they are firm, full of flavorful juice (in the pulp) and oil (in the rind).  Most of the citrus found later in the year have been harvested in the winter and sprayed with a preservative to keep them in the markets year round.

To extend the flavor of limes at the peak of the season one can "preserve" them using salt, as Edith did.  Preserved citrus can be used in soups, tagines, with fish, roasted meats and many other dishes to add an exciting element of flavor.

5 limes
3 cups coarse salt
up to 2 cups olive oil

1- 3/4 litre preserving jar, sterilized

Wash and dry the limes well.  Cut the limes lengthwise, in eighths. 

Place lime slices in a Pyrex container.   Pour salt over limes and toss them in the salt, ensuring that the pulp portion is completely coated with salt.

Cover the container and put them in the freezer for at least a day (a couple of days is fine too).
Remove from the freezer and thaw thoroughly.   Put the limes into a colander and rinse off the salt with cold water. 
Pack the limes into the sterilized preserving jar and cover them with olive oil.

It is important that the limes are completely covered with the oil, if they are not they will mold.

Close and put away in a dark place for at least 3 weeks before eating.

As Nigella says "The longer you leave them, the more tender and exquisite they are". 

She recommends leaving them at room temperature, I like to store them in the refrigerator.

Scroll down to read the previous post for more uses for preserved citrus, and to learn how we preserved lemons; or click on preserved lemons.

 How to be a Domestic Goddess, by Nigella Lawson is available through Splendid Items.


red ticking said...

i cannot believe i have never seen your blog.. we have so many similar tastes... indigo seas, the ivy and nigella! any other tips for la??? i leave friday!
will so enjoy following your blog... xx

Anonymous said...

I've never thought of preserved limes before, that sounds so refreshing! I'm doing it today! Thanks

Emily Heston said...

I hope you'll try them, so wonderful.

Thank you Red Ticking, I haven't made it to the C. Marmont for dinner yet, I would like to, just because.

Have fun down there!!

Slim Paley said...

Yum! Going to try this for sure.
Happy Thanksgving!