Salt Preserved Lemons
Once you've had preserved lemons, you'll wonder how you ever got by without a jar of them in the pantry. They have a bright and lively taste, without being overly sharp, and bring lemony goodness to many dishes.
You can order them from Middle Eastern specialty shops, but they're really easy to make, and you'll know exactly what to do next time that generous neighbor brings you a big bag of fresh lemons from their overly prolific tree.
An open jar will keep in the fridge for at least a year, though you'll use them far more quickly than that, so be sure to have another jar or two "doing their thing" on the counter top. It takes six to eight weeks before before they're really ready to use, so what are you waiting for? You'll want these on-hand when you get your Marrakesh Sunset, so you can immediately do a batch of Chicken with Citron Confit and Olives!
Select small to medium, firm fruit with smooth unblemished skins. For a quart of preserved lemons, you'll need 10-12 lemons, plus a couple more for extra juice.
- Clean and sterilize your jars and lids
- Wash the lemons well, and dry them
- Put about 1T kosher salt in the bottom of the jar
- Cut a little off each end, exposing just a bit of the pulp
- Slice lengthwise almost through, leaving about 1cm/0.5" holding the lemon together
- Turn the lemon over, and make a similar lengthwise cut at a 90° angle to the first
- From each end, fill the lemon with about 1T of kosher salt, and press the lemon "halves" together to distribute the salt
- Pack the lemons tightly into the jar, sqeezing out as much juice as you can — a wooden muddler can be used
- When the jar is nearly full, top it up with fresh lemon juice and a little more salt, put the lid on, and leave it on the counter, inverting it every few days
- After a couple of days, you may need to add a little more fresh lemon juice - keep the lemons submerged!
After six weeks or so, the lemons are ready to use. Some like to discard the pulp, and use only the peel. Some rinse them. You'll find your own preferences, but do experiment. I find every part of them useful for different things. They're a wonderful addition to any kitchen.