Preserved lemons are traditionally used in Moroccan cooking, and add something special that can’t be replicated by any other means. They are very simple to make, but require a little patience as they sit for about 30 days until ready. So I’m over here, sitting on my hands waiting for these babies to be ready, and I can’t wait! I’m thinking tagines, stews, salads, confit on top of fish…
I keep looking at Moroccan recipes, wishing I had preserved lemons ready to go in my pantry. I think part of my yearning for Moroccan is the rich mix of spices in those dishes. If you’ve been following any of my recipes as of late, I clearly have spices on the brain! These lemons should be ready to go mid-January for me, right around the time that I’ll be thinking I need to clean up my act and repent for all of the debauchery over the holidays. Perfect timing as they will add bright, beautiful flavour to some good healthy meals that will be hearty and comforting!
I’m using Meyer lemons here as I hear they are similar to Moroccan lemons. You can also add spices, but I prefer to add these types of flavours to the final dish based on what seems appropriate.
As you can see, I used a swing-top jar for mine, but you can use virtually any type of jar, just be sure to sterilize it before use. There are a number of different methods for sterilizing jars; I let mine sit in boiling water for 10 minutes. Once that’s done, you simply slice the tip with the stem nub off, and slice into quarters down to about 1/4 inch from the end, leaving that end intact so that the lemon holds together. Freezing the lemons before packing them into the jar with salt will make soften them, making them easier to pack into the jar.
Traditionally used in Moroccan cooking, these have a beautiful bright flavour to add to tagines, stews, salads, and more. I used Meyer lemons, but you can use any breed.
Lemons (enough to fill your jar – I used about 8)
Sea salt – approximately 1/2 cup
Fresh squeezed lemon juice, as needed
1 large glass jar, sterilized
Slice the top bit off each lemon to remove the stem cap. Slice each lemon into quarters, down to about 1/2 inch from the end, leaving this end intact.
Add lemons to a container or freezer bag, and store in the freezer overnight. Allow to thaw before moving on to the next step. While freezing isn’t absolutely necessary, it will allow you to squish the lemons together in the jar more easily.
Ensure your jar is sterilized. There are several methods, I set mine in boiling water for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of salt into the bottom of the jar.
Sprinkle salt into the exposed centre of each lemon. Add lemons into the jar, packing them down tightly, and adding salt between the layers.
Store the lemons in a dark cupboard. After 3 days, check the lemons to ensure liquid is covering the lemons. If it isn’t, pack them down and add fresh lemon juice until they are covered. Continue to monitor to ensure the liquid is still covering the lemons, adding more lemon juice if required.
After 30 days total, your lemons should be ready to go! You can continue to store them in the cupboard for up to 1 year.
Keywords: lemons, salt, sea salt, preserved lemons, preserves, moroccan, tagine