{No Bake} OTTOLENGHI’S PRESERVED LIMES … Preserve the Bounty

This August, I signed up for the Preserve the Bounty Challenge hosted at Nourished Kitchen which is an intensive 5-week challenge designed to teach you how to preserve the bounty of summer without pulling out the canner.  Participants receive an email and tutorial once a week covering a traditional, time-honored food preservation technique. In Jenny’s words, “There’s many, many methods for preserving food without canning; however, in this challenge we’re focused on only a simple handful: freezing, sun drying, salt-curing, oil-curing and fermentation.  Each one of these methods helps to maintain nutrient content better than the process of hot water or pressure canning.”

Preserve the Bounty: August 2010

It’s August and we’re preserving summer’s bounty WITHOUT heating up our kitchens! This month’s challenge is all about traditional methods of food preservation – those methods that maintain or increase the nutrient density of the foods we consume.Week #1: Fermentation
Fermentation was born of practicality – a way to preserve the harvest of summer well into the deepest and darkest days of winter which may be why fermented foods play such an enormously important role in the traditional culinary practices of cold-climate cultures. Germans revel in sauerkraut, Koreans in kimchi and Russians in sour beets and kvass.

I love making these preserved lemons from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, one of my favourite cookbooks to leaf through. These limes take a few weeks to make, and the original recipe uses lemons. I enjoy making these, a preservation very similar to the Indian pickle, but less spicy and more flavorful. Less oily too as Indian pickles are often preserved in oil. This is the second jar I have in progress, as the first is almost gone. I use preserved limes often …  in Chicken Paillard Fried in Cumin Butter, sometimes tossed into the food processor while making Turkish Adana Kebabs, or Indian Chicken Reshmi Kebabs. I love the burst of tangy flavour these limes offer. The red chili enticingly takes the tangy flavours  of the lime, and lends back just a slight hint of heat to the limes … well balanced and definitely addictive. I am guilty of often nibbling a bit of lime now and then!

Fermentation is almost a magical effort on behalf of beneficial microbes. With minimal effort, a teeny bit of luck and a lot of patience, these microscopic do-gooders will change sweet to sour and make fresh foods, in all their vitamin- and enzyme-rich glory, last for years.

Preserved Limes

10-12 limes, {You can add a few tangerines if you like; I did}
6 tbsp coarse sea salt
2 sprigs rosemary
1 large red chili
Juice of 8 limes
1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil {I used Borges that I recently received from Borges India.}

Before you begin, get a large enough jar to accommodate the limes in. To sterilise it, fill it with boiling water, leave for a minute and then empty it. Allow to dry naturally without wiping it so it remains sterilised.

Wash the limes and tangerines if using, and cut a deep cross all the way from the top to about 1/2an inch to the bottom, so that you have 4 quarters that are still attached. Stuff each lime with 1/2 a spoon of salt and place in jar. Push the limes in tightly so they are all squeezed together well. Seal the jar and leave for a week.
After this, remove the lid and press the lemons as hard as you can to squeeze as much juice out of them as possible. Add the rosemary, chili and lime juice and cover with a thin layer of olive oil. Seal the jar and place in a cool place for 4 weeks. {I kept it in the fridge as it’s very very warm here}. The longer you leave them, the better the flavour.
♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥
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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


  • Kamalika
    6 years ago

    very informative post….never preserved lemon in this way…lovely snaps too….

  • s stockwell
    6 years ago

    This is a wonderful post that I will use right away. YOur blog looks so great with the new graphics and your photos are so good! love it!

  • Grapefruit
    6 years ago

    Who knew fermentation could look so beautiful! 😉
    Enjoyed the read.

  • Torviewtoronto
    6 years ago

    first time in your site lovely pictures looks delicious

  • Rosa's Yummy Yums
    6 years ago

    A very interesting and original preserve! What gorgeous flavors!



  • Carolyn™
    6 years ago

    Love the pictures and the recipe will try this when my daughters tree is full of limes.

  • Joy
    6 years ago

    Great pics. I never thought of preserving lemons like that.

  • Shabs..
    6 years ago

    Oh what a set of lovely pics deeba….lovely recipe as well….loved ur presentation…BTW…. do u use any extra lighting for ur shooting?….loved the lighting.

  • Jenny
    6 years ago

    This is absolutely stunning. I am REALLY hoping to try my hand at fermenting limes as soon as they're back in season.

  • Anna Johnston
    6 years ago

    This is exciting. I've always loved preserving and yet I have never known much about preserving through fermentation. I'm definatly going to give this a go. Beautiful pics and great info.

  • Anh
    6 years ago

    I should get myself started on preserving! Have been so lazy. Yours looks great + inspirational.

  • Gera @ Sweets Foods Blog
    6 years ago

    I've never preserved limes sounds very good I'd try some day thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    Have a great week!


  • Natashya KitchenPuppies
    6 years ago

    Temptress! Vixen!
    I am going to end up buying this book and it will be all your fault. ☺
    I love the idea of making my own preserved limes. Your limes are so cute and dainty. They are a little thicker up here but I am sure they would still turn out wonderfully.
    Cheers! ♥

  • Ken
    6 years ago

    Nice way to capture the bounty. Always have this fear of leaving food on counter for 'preservation', but if Ms. Deeba says it's OK, then I'll definitely give it a go.

  • Heather
    6 years ago

    I had a key lime tree and a lisbon lemon. One of my FAVORITE things to do was preserving them. I had so many jars around the kitchen just FULL of lemons and limes. LOVE this. *Great photos btw

  • sarah
    6 years ago

    This looks so interesting! And easy. Thanks for the inspiration. I have two questions. 1. Which Ottolenghi cookbook is better in your opinion? 2. Why Borges olive oil? What is special about it?

  • lisaiscooking
    6 years ago

    Great idea to combine limes and tangerines! The rosemary and chile sound great here too. Now, I'd preserved some of my meyer lemons earlier this year!

  • SKM
    6 years ago

    Beauty! This looks fabulous, Deeba.

  • Hanaâ
    6 years ago

    I love preserved lemons. They're very common in the Moroccan cuisine: they go really well with chicken as well as salads such as a roasted bell pepper and tomato salad. I always bring some back with me when I visit but I might have to try your recipe (especially now that they keep restricting the amount of luggage you're allowed w/o additional charge!!) :o)

  • linda
    5 years ago

    The preserved limes look beautiful but how do you use them? Do you use the whole lime, skin, pith and pulp in recipes? thank you

    • 5 years ago

      Thank you Linda. Yes I do. Whole lime, cut almost all the way down, pith and pulp included. I now store my jars in the fridge for longer life.

  • Alicia
    2 years ago

    Hi. I tried this lovely recipe and my limes turned brown on the second day. I’ve never had this happen before, but I’ve also never fermented limes before. Is this normal for limes?

  • 1 year ago

    Defo going to give these a wurl, I love the idea of a shelf full of preserved summer ready for the winter coming up 🙂

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