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by on January 19th, 2014

Preserved Lemons

These make me pucker just thinking about them.

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I had a jar of preserved lemons that I bought several years ago in a mark down basket at a gourmet kitchen store. By the time I got around to cleaning my pantry out last week (I do this at least once a month) the jar of lemons looked like a jar of something not even resembling a lemon, they were dark gray and those definitely got thrown out.

We have a Meyer Lemon tree that was potted but then put in the ground. This is the third year for it to take up residence in our yard. Last year, some critter pulled all the lemons off and we ended up with 2 in the late Fall. Something happened this year, maybe the predators went to someone else’s yard because I had 16-18 beautiful, almost baseball size, Meyer lemons. So, since one can only drink so many lemon drop martinis, I decided to try to make preserved lemons and believe me, they were the easiest things I have ever made.

You say, “what am I going to do with preserved lemons since I don’t own a tagine and I don’t make Mediterranean food”. Well, you can make my Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Preserved Lemons that I will be posting in two days (can’t give you lemons and then make you wait 6 days to post another recipe.

After a bit of research, I found quite a few things to do with preserved lemons — use them in salad dressings and sauces, in salsas and dips, pasta dishes, risotto, Tagines (there’s that word again), hummus, and just about anything that would benefit from a tart bite of a piece of lemon.

Of course when you take these out to use them you want to rinse off all the salt and tear out the inside of the lemon and throw this away as you are only using the rind.

The good thing about this recipe is you can make just one jar or whatever amount you want.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: I couldn’t resist giving you another lemon recipe even though it doesn’t call for preserved lemons.  Lemon Scented Bread has had over 2,000 views on the blog. I wonder how many of those people have made the bread.  I plan on making this again soon to take to craft circle ladies.

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Maybe the reason the lemons did so well this year was because of the music playing in their ear from the speakers my hub has put in the yard.

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My harvest, minus a couple that I did make a few lemon drop martinis from.

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Lemons, some Kosher salt and a few bay leaves.

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Cut the stem end off of all the lemons.

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Add a few tablespoons salt to the bottom of your jar.

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Cut the lemon in fourths but do not cut all the way through the bottom. I guess I didn’t get a picture of filling the lemons with salt after they are separated. Add 2-3 teaspoons of salt to the inside of the lemons if you are doing them this way.

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These lemons I had cut in 6ths and dipped them in the salt. The lemons can either be cut in fourths but not all the way through or quartered all the way and then totally dip in salt.  I think the 6 pieces to a lemon were a little small.

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Start packing your lemons into the jar after you have either dipped them in the salt or packed salt into the quartered lemon’s inside.

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While packing in the lemons, add a few bay leaves along the way.

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I used a muddler to kind of squish the lemons down.  You will be amazed how many lemons you can get in the jar.  I had to juice a few extra lemons to fill the top of the jar with juice. Add salt to the top, seal and refrigerate for 2-3 weeks.

Preserved Lemons

8-10 Meyer lemons, scrub under water
1/2 c. Kosher salt, you may need more than this
fresh bay leaves if you have them, dried if you don’t
extra lemons if needed
canning jars

After cleaning the lemons and your jar(s), add about2 tablespoons of salt in the bottom of each jar. Cut off the stem end of the lemon. Cut your lemons in fourths but do not cut all the way through. Separate the lemons out with your fingers and add a good amount of salt to coat inside. Put the lemon in the jar and continue adding lemons, pressing down as you go and the juice will rise in the jar. Add a few bay leaves as you layer in the lemons. You may need to juice a couple of extra lemons to top off the jar.  Add 2-3 tablespoons of salt to the top of the jar.

With a clean cloth, wipe off all the salt from the rim of the jar and add the seal and ring. You can either let these sit at room temperature for a few days or put in the refrigerator. Turn the jar upside down when you think of it to help dissolve the salt. Let sit in refrigerator for 3 weeks before using and the rinds will before soft.

To use these lemons you will remove one or more from the jar, rinse off all the salt and pull out all the inside of the lemon and discard. You will only be using the rind in your recipes.

Will keep six months in your refrigerator.

Here are some links showing other’s techniques:

http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/17/preserving-lemons-the-traditional-way/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApblfnsB5pE (not like I did mine but may try this way the next time)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/how_to_make_preserved_01545

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2 comments to Preserved Lemons

  • San West

    Thanks for this recipe! Our daughter gave us a Tagine several years ago for Christmas. I love using mine. And, it’s always a conversation piece sitting on the counter top!

  • I don’t have a tagine and would probably use one. I just need more space to keep it. I can’t wait to try using the preserved lemons in salad dressing and some risotto. I may use it on some halibut tonight. Thanks for tuning in to RATG

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