How to Make Preserved Lemons
Preserved lemons keep this sunny fruit in your kitchen all year long, and they are easy to make at home. While they do have to rest for about a month before use, they keep for as long as six months in the refrigerator.
Once you have a jar waiting, you can use them in many more dishes than the Middle Eastern specialties where they originated. The pulp and rind can be chopped and stirred into salads, pastas and grains. They can also be used to flavor salad dressings, marinated olives and poultry dishes.
Makes: 8 preserved lemons
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Preserving time: 3 to 4 weeks
¾ to 1 cup salt
¼ to ½ cup fresh lemon juice*
Optional spices: cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns, whole cloves, cardamom pods, allspice berries
Trim any protruding ends off of each lemon. Next, working at the stem side, cut the top ¼ off of each lemon.
Cut each lemon into quarters, stopping just before you cut all the way through to keep the lemon intact at the bottom.
Place about 1 tablespoon of the salt into a sterilized quart jar or similar glass container.
Use the remaining salt to coat each lemon. Pour it inside the lemon and rub it over all sides. Place the salted lemons in the jar, pressing firmly to extract some juice.
Once all of the lemons are in the jar, press again to smash and extract more juice. Pour in any remaining salt. Add enough extra lemon juice so that all of the lemons are submerged. Add any optional spices you might be using.
Seal with a lid and shake the jar gently to distribute the salt settled at the bottom. Let sit at room temperature for 48 hours, then store in the refrigerator. Shake the jar occasionally, every few days.
The lemons are ready to use once the rinds have become soft, after about 3 to 4 weeks. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Discard any seeds before chopping and using in recipes.
*We recommend using lemons and limes from Paramount Citrus. They are consistently fresh and juicy and available at most major grocery, mass and club retailers.