Lemons! Just seeing these bright yellow beauties puts me in a happy mood. This time of year we’re all about the citrus in our home. And though I know I’ve already shared a preserved lemon recipe here previously, I like having options, so I thought I’d share this one with you, as well.
You see, this is the version that I tend to make more often. The other one is lovely, don’t get me wrong. It’s especially delightful when you make impressive Moroccan food. But, often I find that a simpler, dare I say “plain” version, such as this one is more versatile. This preserved lemon recipe works with everything! Plus, it takes about 5 minutes of work for a result that can be enjoyed for the entire next year. I think we’re winning here, friends.
Ok. You want one other important little tidbit as to why I make this version more often? It’s to do with my husband. As I mentioned before, he fancies himself a bit of a mixologist, and he makes a cocktail called The Corsair that uses the juice from preserved lemons in it. It’s citrusy, salty heaven. So, for that reason alone, I make this plain version. I’ll share the recipe for the cocktail once the weather warms a bit. I don’t pack quite as many lemons into the jar, and instead pour more fresh juice into it. You can certainly pack that thing tightly so you get as many fresh lemons in there as possible. Of course, if you want to start experimenting with cocktails made with salty preserved lemon juice, you know what to do.
Now even though you may not be thinking of using preserved lemons, now is the time to make them. It is, in fact, citrus season. Not only will you get lemons at a good price, but they’ll have the most flavor. Buy organic lemons, as they are not covered in wax. However, if you can’t get organic lemons in your neighborhood, just make sure to wash them thoroughly to remove the waxy film that may be on them. Preserved lemons can last for up to a year in your refrigerator. They are a wonderful bright addition to braised meats, chicken, grain salads, or just about anything that could use a little oomph! You only use the peel part of the lemon, not the pulpy inside. And generally it is a good idea to give it a rinse to remove the excess salt.
The Recipe: Salt-Preserved Lemons
(make 1 quart)
about 2 pounds of organic lemons (regular can be used, just wash well)
about 1 cup sea salt or kosher
Wash the lemons well. Add 2 tablespoons of sea or kosher salt to the bottom of a clean quart jar. Cut an “X” on one lemon end until about 3/4 of the way down. Repeat for as many lemons as will fit into your jar. Fill the opening with salt (about 1 tablespoon) and place into the jar. Squish as many as you can into the jar and gently squeeze juice out of the lemons as you do this. When the jar is full of lemons, add lemon juice from the remaining lemons until it reaches the top of the jar. Place the lid on the top and gently turn the jar back and forth to incorporate the salt on the bottom. Keep the jar on the counter for about 3-4 weeks, turning it every so often. Then refrigerate after that for up to a year. Use clean tools to remove the preserved lemons when wanting to use some. Rinse off the excess salt when incorporating it into meals. Enjoy!
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