Preserved lemons are a staple of Mediterranean and North African cooking. You can find them in gourmet markets (outside of Albania that is) but they are so easy to make you with proper planning, you can make your own. After making lemoncello I’m alway left with a dozen rindless lemons and have difficulty finding something that requires that much fresh lemon juice. Preserved lemons to the rescue!
This simple recipe from Martha Rose Shulman’s Mediterranean Harvest cookbook only has three ingredients. I pack my lemons in small jars that hold one lemon each. These make perfect holiday or hostess gifts for the foodies in your life.
12 organic lemons or enough to fill a wide mouth 1-pint or 1-quart jar
- Sterilize your jar by submerging in boiling water for a minute. Very carefully lift the jar out of the water using tongs. Tip the water out of the jar and into the pot as you remove it, so that you don’t get scalded. Drain the jar on a clean dish towel, top down.
- Quarter each lemon lengthwise from the pointed (bud) end down to within 1/2 inch of the stem end making sure to keep the lemon intact. Pack the lemons with salt. Place the lemons in the jar, packing as many as will fit. Add lemon juice to completely cover the lemons, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons salt over the top and cover tightly. Set in a cool place or refrigerate for at least 3 weeks. The lemons are ready when they have softened.
- To use, simply remove from the jar, rinse, and slice or chop as directed.
If you need ideas for using your preserved lemons, check out the following recipes:
- William Sonoma’s Braised Chicken With Preserved Lemons
- Saveur’s Braised Lamb Shanks
- Saveur’s Chicken Tagine With Apricots, Figs, and Olives
- Cooking Light’s Vegetable Tagine With Preserved Lemons