Preserved lemons are originally from Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco cuisine. They are an example of umami--the savory fifth taste.
My mother introduced them to me after making them herself for a recipe. She couldn't believe how simple they were to make, and how much they added to the meal. Now, I need to have preserved lemons as a staple in my fridge!
This recipe is a combination from a few different recipes.
Step 1: Ingredients and Supplies
Ingredients for a 500 ml Jar:
- Organic lemons - 4 total (3 whole and 1 juiced).
- Bulk sea salt - approximately 1/2 cup.
- Water – boiled and cooled - approximately 1 cup.
- 500 ml canning jars or other decorative jars that you may have,
- Sharp knife,
- Cutting board,
Step 2: Preparation
Clean the lemons – if you aren't using organic lemons, let them sit in some vinegar water for a few minutes and rinse them before using.
Trim the ends off each lemon with a sharp knife.
Slice lemons in half and then in quarters but do not cut them all of the way through – leave the quarters attached at one end.
Put a teaspoon of sea salt in each lemon cavity.
Step 3: Jar
Put a teaspoon of sea salt in the bottom of each jar.
Place the lemon halves in the jar cut side down.
Compress the lemon so that the lemon juice squishes out.
Put a teaspoon of sea salt on top of the first lemon and then squish another lemon half on top of the first.
Continue in this way until the jar is full. Squish in as many lemons as possible.
I fit three full lemons into the 500 ml sized jar - depending on the size of your lemons you may fit more or less.
Check that the lemon juice in the jar reaches the halfway point; if not, add more juice from an additional lemon.
Put a teaspoon of sea salt on top of the last lemon and top up the liquid in the jar with boiled cooled water.
Step 4: Preserve
Screw the lid on to the jar and let it sit at room temperature for 3 days, shaking and rotating the jar several times a day.
After 3 days put the jars in the refrigerator and let them sit for at least 3 weeks before using.
Store in the fridge and your preserved lemons will last at least 6 months – although I am using last year’s lemons now and they are still great!
Step 5: Serve
When using the preserved lemons discard the pulp by cutting it off of the peel and wash the peel well to remove the excess salt.
As Schuhmacher says in this Serious Eats blog, simply add preserved lemons to "everything that calls for lemon—and everything that doesn't." She suggests (and I've tried and also recommend):
Toss pasta with some good olive oil, a little garlic, and chopped preserved lemon peel.
Use in recipes for roast chicken and fish, or grilled meats.
Swirl chopped peel into yogurt with a little honey (so good!).
Use in your homemade salad dressings and hummus.
Liven up potato salads.
Use as an alternative for the peel to your martini.