Preserved Limes with Fennel Seed and Turmeric

, from Issue #35. August, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Preserved Limes with Fennel Seed and Turmeric

Use limes that have started to go yellow, not the bright green ones. Use both the flesh and the skin of the limes in any recipe that calls for preserved lemons.


12 limes
1/3 cup sea salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground paprika
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
4 small bay leaves
olive oil


Quarter the limes and place in a shallow dish, cut side up. Sprinkle with the salt, cover and leave for 12 hours. Drain off the liquid but don’t discard the salt still on the limes and in the bottom of the dish.

Pack the limes and salt into sterilized jars, sprinkling each layer with some of the turmeric, paprika, fennel seeds and chilli flakes. Tuck a couple of bay leaves into each jar then pour in enough olive oil to come ½ cm from the top. Seal tightly.

Place a folded cloth in the bottom of a large saucepan and put the jars on top. Completely cover the jars with cold water, place over a medium heat and slowly bring to the boil. Boil steadily, uncovered, for 30 minutes, topping up with extra boiling water to keep the jars covered the entire time.

Carefully lift the jars from the water bath and cool. Store in a cool place for 3 weeks before using. Refrigerate after opening. Makes 2 x 2 cup capacity jars