Monday, June 11, 2012

Preserved Lemons

I read about making preserved lemons in this book: Well Preserved: Recipes and Techniques for Putting Up Small Batches of Seasonal Foods.  I was intrigued.

First, the original recipe is for preserved Meyer lemons, which my grocery store does not have.  According to the book's author Eugenia Bone, Meyer lemons are a little sweeter and they have a thinner rind, so it won't take as long for the brine to permeate the lemons.  No matter.  I used regular sale lemons.

Preserving lemons basically entails sterilizing a couple of pint jars and heating up the lids and bands in simmering water, cutting up the lemon in quarters, and layering the slices with kosher salt, adding lemon juice at the end.  Screw on the jar caps and leave on your counter for 2-3 weeks (two weeks if you use Meyer lemons).  Turn the jars over every couple of days to make sure the brine gets to all of them.  After the second or third week, put the jars in the fridge.  The lemons should be good for months.

Now, what would you use them for?  Well, chicken tagine often calls for preserved lemons.  And I enjoy cooking and eating fish, and these add a really nice, tangy flavor to them.

All I really did was pan sear the salmon with some garlic and ginger, chopped up a slice of the preserved lemon, and added it to the pan.  It was an easy way to dress up the fish and went well with the turnip greens.

This was actually quite easy to do, so if you find lemons on sale (or get one of those bags with tons of lemons in them), this would be a good way to use some of them.



  1. Great idea! And this would also make an excellent and unusual gift. Do you know about how much kosher salt you used for a pint-sized container? I like that I don't have to make a huge batch, I could just do one jar at a time. Will try this!

  2. Hi, Lili. You use 10 lemons (6 to brine, 4 to juice) and 1/2 cup of kosher salt for two pints worth of preserved lemons. (Use sterilized wide-mouth pint jars.)

    1. Thanks for the info, Pamela. I think these have real, simple beauty.