How to Make Preserved Lemons
I’m seeing more and more recipes these days calling for preserved lemons. Perhaps it’s the growing influence of Moroccan and Middle Eastern cuisine on our diet.
Should we called it the “Ottolenghi effect”?
What’s tricky is that store-bought preserved lemons aren’t always easy to come by. Plus, the ones I’ve tried haven’t been particularly worthwhile. Lucky for all of us, it’s a snap to make your own. All you need is a jar, a few lemons, salt, and month’s worth of patience. Plus, it’s darn satisfying to open the fridge and see a pretty jar of citrus preserving before your very eyes.
Below you’ll find the recipe. You’ll note it calls for Meyer lemons, those gorgeously scented, thin skinned, sweet beauties that are in markets right now. Not to worry if you can’t get ahold of Meyers, since regular lemons will do just fine.
It takes about a month for the lemons and salt to work their magic and transform from salty lemons to preserved ones. When that time arrives, the question of what to do with them comes to mind. Really, they work well in nearly any savory dish where you would add lemons or lemon zest, from sauteed greens to roast chicken. My favorite use? Tuna salad. A tablespoon or two of chopped preserved lemon peel in this Superfood Tuna is an umami bomb. I also like all of these ideas offered up on the Kitchn as well as this pretty Chicken with Preserved Lemon on Cooking Light.
For those of you already on this preserving bandwagon, how do you use use them in your own cooking?
Easy Preserved Lemons
- 4 to 5 Meyer lemons , scrubbed
- 5 to 6 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 sterilized pint jar with a lid
Spoon 1 tablespoon of salt into the jar.
Cut 3 lemons into quarters, leaving the very bottom of each one attached (so that if you open it, it fans out like a flower and is still connected at the bottom).
Spoon 1 tablespoon salt into the center of the first lemon, close it, and put it into the jar. Continue with the 2nd and 3rd lemons, smashing them down firmly into the jar to make room for more, if possible. If some room remains, add another half or whole lemon, using 1/2 to a full tablespoon of salt accordingly. Fit as many lemons as you can as long as there is at least 1/2 inch of room at the top.
Add another tablespoon of salt to the top of the lemons.
Cut 1 or 2 lemons in half and squeeze enough juice so that the lemons are immersed in liquid.
Put on the lid and store in a cool place. Turn the jar over every day for 4 days, then store in the fridge.
After a month, your preserved lemons will be ready to use.
Rinse well with water before using. It is typically the peel, not the flesh of the lemon, that is used.