preserved lemons

Friday, April 17, 2009

I’ve always been interested in making these, but never gotten around to it.  If nothing else, it takes the juice of a LOT of lemons, in addition to the lemons that are cut up in the jar.  Earlier this week, though, I bought a 5lb bag of lemons with the idea of making homemade limoncello (more about that in another post).  After I zested  lemons for the vodka infusion, I was left with a pile of naked lemons and no clue what to do with them.  Then I remembered the stack of recipes I had for North African/Moroccan preserved lemons.  All of the recipes call for the same basic steps – pack the lemons in salt, press them to down to release the juice, top off with more juice, and store them, covered, for a few weeks until the rinds are soft.

Easy enough.  So that’s what I did.  And here are the results.  I didn’t really measure anything.

I scrubbed 4 lemons thoroughly with a brush to make sure I got the wax and whatever off the skins.

Then I sliced them into wedges (Some recipes call for chunks, some for slices, some for whole lemons.  I liked the look of the wedges.)

I put them in a bowl and tossed them with kosher salt until each wedge had a thick covering of salt. Seriously I have no idea how much salt I used. A lot.

Then I packed the wedges into a 1qt canning jar, using a chopstick to help me push the wedges down. I probably could have taken more time and made pretty patterns in arranging them, but I was going for volume, not aesthetics here.

Then I topped off the jar with lemon juice from the poor naked lemons I’d shaved for the limoncello.

Finally I sealed the jar and stuck it in the back of my fridge. I’ll check on it in about 2 weeks and see where we’re at. (Oh and the next day I moved the lemons to the jar you see at the beginning of this post. I have heard that the salt and lemon juice will eventually cause the regular canning lids to corrode – don’t want that!)

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6 comments :

  • lemon juice | Kara Cooks

    [...] lemons like crazy.  But what do you do with nearly 30 lbs of lemon?  Well, make lemon tart, make preserved lemons, make the aforementioned lemon curd, make limoncello, and just plain freeze zest and [...]

  • Kevin

    I recently made some preserved lemons as well. They were nice and easy to make and the results were really good. Now comes the fun part, experimenting with them!

  • Allie

    Yeah, that’s true about the corrosion. I have some of mine in mason jars w/ a plastic lid, and a huge jar like the one in the beginning of the post. The wire around it is a little corroded, but I don’t really mind since that jar is dedicated to lemons. I do wipe some off every now and a gain, though, but it’s not really possible to keep up with it completely.

  • Beekeeper

    What exactly do you DO with preserved lemons?

    • Kara

      I have a ton of recipes waiting that call for them. Tagines are the most popular, but even putting them in stews, sauteed chicken dishes, chopped fine and served in spinach or greens, chopped in a salad, mixed in couscous or tabbouleh. I’m looking forward to using them in a few weeks and I’ll be sure and post when I do.

  • Cakelaw

    I have always wanted to make preserved lemons, but it’s another one of those “gonna” jobs. Thanks for the tip about the plastic lids – I wouldn’t have thought of that.

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