Preserved Lemons

Every once in a while I get a craving for Middle Eastern food, like Moroccan Chicken.  Unfortunately, I'm not able to make that at home when my craving hits because I never seem to have preserved lemons on hand.  So, last month when I received a box of lemons from my cousin in Arizona, I specifically set some aside to preserve.  Most recipes I saw called for 8 to 10 Meyer Lemons, but I only had to use one to fill this pint jar! 

Preserving lemons is so easy.  You only need three things: lemons, coarse salt, and a jar.  Although, there are some recipes that add spices like fennel seeds, cinnamon stick, coriander seeds, or peppercorns.  The lemon is preserved by being brined in the salt and its own juice.  The lemons will take one month before they are preserved, then they will last up to one year.  Since you will be eating the peel, I highly suggest using organic fruit to prevent consumption of any waxes or sprays left on the peels.  My jar of preserved lemons are ready for me to open today, yeah!  I think Mike and I will be having Moroccan Chicken this week ;)

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Ingredients for Preserved Lemons

  • Pint sized Mason jar (16 oz), sanitized
  • Coarse salt (sea or Kosher), about 3/4 cup
  • Organic lemons- 1 large or 10 small

Directions to Preserve Lemons

  1. Wash lemons.  If using smaller Meyer lemons, make a criss-cross cut about 3/4 of the way through the lemon so the lemon will be in quarters, but still attached at the base.  If using large lemons, cut into 8 segments.
  2. Pack salt into the quartered lemon, then press the lemon into the jar.  If using large lemons, pour salt over each segment and arrange slices closely and packed together.  Continue to pack the salted lemons tightly into the jar, trying to fill all air pockets.  As you pack the lemons in, they will release juice; leave juices in the jar.  Fill the jar to the brim with salted lemons.
  3. Initially, the salt will fall to the bottom of the jar, so every 1 to 3 days shake to distribute.  Place on your countertop and allow to brine for 30 days.  After 30 days the lemons will be ready to eat.  Preserved lemons last for 1 year at room temperature.