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!)
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.
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)
- Wash the lemons well and pat dry.
- Quarter the lemons.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
It is really easy to remove the pulp...
I just love looking at these beauties!
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!