The simple way to pickle pears and lemons

Pickled fruits, like lemons and pears, can add new flavour to our favourite dishes. Here's how to make your own:

The simple way to pickle pears and lemons

What you need for pickled pears

  • 3 firm pears, peeled, halved and cored
  • Juice of one lemon and rind cut into thin strips
  • Spiced ­vinegar
  • 250 to 400 g (1 1/4 to 2 cups) of sugar
  • 300 to 500 ml (1 1/4 to 2 cups) distilled white vinegar
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) whole cloves

How to pickle pears

  1. Place pears, lemon juice and rind in a pot. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil and then simmer until pears have just become tender.
  2. Prepare spiced vinegar in another pot. Slowly heat sugar, vinegar, cinnamon and cloves until sugar dissolves. Heat until boiling, then remove from heat.
  3. Carefully pack pears into a hot, sterilized jar with cinnamon and cloves.
  4. Pour over the hot spiced vinegar until pears are completely covered. Seal jar immediately, using a non-corrosive lid.
  5. When cool, label and date the jar. Leave for at least two weeks to allow the flavours to properly develop. Store in a cool dark place for up to four months.

Preserved lemon ingredients

  • 10 to 12 lemons, well washed, cut into quarters or sixths
  • 500 ml (2 cups) coarse salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Extra lemon juice
  • Extra salt

How to pickle lemons

  1. Put lemon pieces in a wide plastic tub with the salt. Mix vigorously to release as much juice as possible.
  2. Sprinkle the extra five millilitres (one teaspoon) of coarse salt into a sterilized one litre (four cup) jar. You can also use two 500 millilitre/two cup jars.
  3. Pack lemon pieces into the jar with pieces of bay leaf and cinnamon stick.
  4. When all the fruit has been packed in as tightly as possible, spoon over any lemon juice and salt left in the tub.
  5. Top up with extra lemon juice to completely cover all the fruit pieces.
  6. Wipe the neck of the jar with a clean cloth dipped in boiling water and seal with a non-corrosive lid.
  7. Store in a cool, dark place for at least one month. The lemons will last for up to a year. A harmless white mold may appear on the surface. Use the peel only.

Although used mainly for vegetables, this pickling method can also be used to preserve fruit, with pleasantly tangy results. Use the last of the season's pears and lemons to make a tasty accompaniment to summer salads, or to add some tang to your favourite curries.

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