504 Main by Holly Lefevre: How to Preserve Lemons
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to Preserve Lemons

Awhile back a VERY sweet friend gave me a ton of big gorgeous organic Meyer lemons What to do - what to make! These were some of the most gorgeous lemons I had ever seen (for real!). I quickly decided I needed to get cracking...and so I did. I made (Meyer) limoncello, (Meyer) lemon Curd and Preserved (Meyer) Lemons. (no Meyer lemons? ...you can use good ole lemons for this too!)

Salt, lemons, juice and a jar are all you need to make preserved lemons for use in your favorite recipes.

I have a thing for lemons (my entire family does)...we use them on almost all of our veggies, hot lemon water every morning, and or course for lemon treats! Now, I have a new way to use lemons and I learned a new technique...and best yet making preserved lemons are so easy and inexpensive to make!

Now, don't be afraid...I am not a true foodie (oh, I like food, but I don't each odd strange things just because). I tasted the lemon and it was a (very) salty citrus taste. And, before I could post this, I had to use it in a recipe. I made a version of lemon chicken (which was a HIT!)

Preserved lemons ready to use.

I am so excited to start making more with the preserved lemons! Generally, the rind is used and the pulp discarded (I used only the rind in my lemon chicken). I did however see that some chefs choose to puree the entire batch.
  If you do a search for "Preserved Lemons" you will find plenty of recipes. Based on what I have seen with my own experiment, pretty much all of them will work and they all vary just a bit. My version is a compilation of discussions with foodie friends and research.

Ingredients

All you need is...
  • Lemons! I used 7 Meyer but regular lemons work too! (they were BIG lemons)..it really depends on how many you want to make and how big you jars are.
  • 1/2 cup+ lemon juice (from regular lemons)
  • Sea Salt, at least 1 cup (probably a touch more, depending on the size of the jar)
  • Sterilized Jar with lid (I prefer a wide mouth jar...but you may notice that I do not use a wide mouth jar in the tutorial)
Let's get preserving!
  • Wash the lemons well and pat dry. 
  • Quarter the lemons.
Cut the lemon in quarters.
  • In a clean, sterilized jar, place a layer (you do not want to see the bottom of the jar) of salt. 
  • Place a layer of lemon wedges on top of the salt (I fit 4 wedges)...press down.
  • Add another layer of salt (don't be shy!) 
  • And, another layer of lemons...press down.

Pack the lemons and salt in a jar
  • Continue until you get to the top. Again, do not be shy with the salt. Finish the jar off with a layer of salt. Press down.
lemons packed in a mason jar

  • I packed my lemons in the jar so you could see the juices "exploding." In fact push down hard on the lemon to release the juices (this is why a wide mouth jar would be better).
  • Add FRESH lemon juice to the jar to cover the lemons. 
  • Put the lid on and tuck that jar away. I put it in the back floor of my pantry. 
  • I give my jar a shake about once a day to distribute the juices. Within 24 hours I could see the transformation...the lemons were breaking down and there was a ton of juice. (In my case, the Meyer lemons broke down quicker than regular lemons.)

Wait about 3-4 week for use. Store in the refrigerator.

This is a lemon after being preserved.

a preserved lemon

It is really easy to remove the pulp...

Preserved lemon, remve rind

I just love looking at these beauties!
preserved lemons and sliced rinds

Preserved lemons may be best known for their use in Moroccan dishes, especially with chicken and fish. I have yet to experiment as much as I would like but I have started a Pinterest board that includes Vegan, Paleo and Gluten Free recipes as well. I will be adding to it regularly!

Follow Holly Lefevre (504 Main)'s board Lemons on Pinterest.
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This post is written and created at 504 Main by Holly Lefevre

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for this tutorial, Holly! I have made orange preserves/marmalade before but never thought about preserving lemons. I don't usually have that many lemons, but they always seem to go moldy before I can use even a bag, especially during the fall and winter. I seem to use them up faster in the spring and summer months. Lemons have become so expensive around here, so I really feel bad when even one goes bad, so I might start doing this in some small(jelly size)jars. I started following you on Pinterest so I can keep up with those recipes and so forth!

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  2. Amazing!! I've never learned this before. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. you know, there's so much you can do with lemons that they're the one fruit that I will totally use up (even if I have a huge bag) before it goes bad. I like to make lemon water, lemon zest, add it in any cooking, etc. to ensure that it gets used. But this is a GREAT idea, I never even thought of it as an option. thank you!

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  4. I will have to sneak over and get some more lemons from my sister's tree and do this. You just have to share the lemon chicken recipe. There might me a new box of lemons in your future if I can swing it!

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Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation! I sure hope you come back for more!

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