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We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other. - E.H.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Preserved lemons

I've finally been convinced by all the gorgeous pictures of preserved lemons that have been floating around Punk Domestics these days. I found myself in the grocery store staring at the organic lemons and went for it.

Preserving lemons is ridiculously easy. Basically you just wash and cut up the lemons, pack them with sea salt and stuff them in a jar. After a month or so, you are ready to throw them in anything Moroccan tangines to salads, vegetable dishes and marinades. These lemons are preserved whole, and the result is a tangy, intensely lemony ingredient that goes well in a range of dishes.

You'll need:

Organic lemons
Sea salt
A clean mason jar

Step one. Buy organic lemons, and wash them really well. You'll want organic because you'll be eating the skins.

Step two. Cut the ends off the lemons - just enough to get to the fruit inside. Squeeze about a tablespoon of juice from each lemon into your jar.

                        this requires more effort then one might imagine

Step three. Cut a cross in the top of each lemons, leaving about an inch at the bottom of the lemon intact.

Step four. Pack the lemon with sea salt. Use a lot - about one and a half tablespoons per lemon.

Step five. Pack the lemons into the mason jar. No need to sterilize the mason jar first, but do make sure its clean. Pack the lemons in as tight as you can - I used ten lemons and one large mason jar. Don't be afraid to really pack them down. When all the lemons are in the jar, fill up any remaining space with fresh lemon juice.

Step six. Leave the lemons at room temperature for about a month, or until they are soft. After that you can store them in the refrigerator.

If you're wondering what on earth to do with preserved lemons, I've made a list of promising recipes. They turn up a lot in Moroccan cooking, and especially in Moroccan tangine dishes, although I've also seen a range of different uses for them.

Chickpea tangine with preserved lemon
Chicken with olives, preserved lemon and coriander
Preserved lemon semifreddo with basil syrup (scroll down to the third recipe - although the other two look great too)
Preserved lemon with spring vegetable risotto 

Waiting a month is going to be the hard part.


  1. Have a look at From the ground up...Alana also has quite a few recipes for preserved lemons.

  2. http://www.eatingfromthegroundup.com/?p=3869

    Oups I forgot to include the link...