Lemons, Preserved

A gift from the heavens is what a preserved lemon is to me.  When I think of that brine-y, tart and juicy yellow orb brightening a dish I just swoon.  And it’s all because of a trip to North Africa - Morocco to be exact.  That trip is a whole lot of other stories.  But for today’s Friday Food Find it’s a recipe for just one beautiful ingredient and preserving it to use in any number of dishes.  It’s simple to make and it lasts a while.   Most importantly it’s flavor inserts itself magically transforming a dish from fabulous to FULL of FABULOUCITY.  One of the best things about this recipe it doesn’t have to be perfect! How rockin’ is that - enjoy.


10 medium lemons
3C Kosher salt
6C water 


Place all lemons in a medium, non-reactive bowl.  With a sharp knife make up to 8 fine 2-inch vertical incisions around each lemon from the stem down.  Repeat with each lemon. If you are able, do not cut deeper that the pith or white inner lining of the lemon. Once incised squeeze each lemon gently to juice.  Place the incised lemons and their juices in a non-reactive pot; large enough so the lemons set on the bottom in one layer.  Pour salt and water over the lemons.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to a simmer until the lemon peels become very soft (15 to 30 minutes).  Set aside to cool.  Once cool take the lemons, one by one, out of their juice (which you can now call a liquor) and place each into a clean glass jar (with a tight lid). Then cover the lemons with the reserved cooking liquor until liquor reaches right under the brim of jar.  The lemons and liquor should be packed in the jar tightly. Secure the jar by placing the lid on tightly.  Discard any left-over liquid.  Leave the jar of lemons in a cool dark place or refrigerator for approximately 3 days.  After 3 days they are ready to use.  Your preserved lemons can be refrigerated for up to two weeks. 

How to Use

Take however many preserved lemons you need for a recipe out of the jar.  Rinse gently to wash of excess liquor.  Pat dry and follow recipe directions. 

*If you cut deeper than the pith - don’t worry - it’s going to be just fine.  The lemon will come apart but that’s ok!  You primarily use the preserved lemon peel.  Therefore, it’s going to be usable and delicious.
*Used sparingly, left-over liquor can be used to marinate meat, fish or chicken.  Use it within a couple days, however, as the shelf life is no longer than 1 week.