Preserved Lemons


Preserving lemons are simply a wonderful ingredient to add amazing flavor to many dishes. Lemons are preserved in salt, and left to cure. Once the curing has completed, the lemons can be used to add flavor to countless dishes. A preserved lemon has a stronger more intense flavor so a little goes a long way. Although they are more commonly found in Turkey or Morocco, they lend themselves wonderfully to Italian cuisine as well. I love to add some finely chopped preserved lemon to risotto, and top it with grilled or fried seafood, or add a teaspoon or two to my Chicken Piccata. Really, any recipe where you would add the usual lemon, you can use preserved lemons, just be careful not to add too much!

I was lucky enough to find some amazing lemons from the Amalfi coast that are as large as my fist, but any lemon works well in this recipe, especially Meyer lemons with their own unique flavor. The process of preserving lemons could not be easier and basically you simply cut off the ends, then cut the lemons into quarters, or six segments if they are as large as mine. Once cut, you simply pack the segments into a sterilized jar adding kosher salt between layers. Once “cured” you should be able to tear the skin fairly easily. The jar is stored in the refrigerator, and you will notice that the lemons will continue to release their juices as the weeks pass. Turn the jar upside down every few days to ensure all lemons get covered in the salty syrup. The lemons can last for up to 6 months in the refrigerator, and you can simply remove a segment or two as needed. ┬áTo use, scrape off the flesh and seeds and some of the pith if it is thick. You can wash the rind off to remove the salt, which I commonly do, or simply leave the lemon as is. The rind can now be thinly sliced, or diced and added to any recipe you choose.

Cut Smaller Lemons Into Quarters Or Larger Lemons Into 6 Segments

Lemons Layered With Salt And Curing At Room Temperature
They Have Already Softened And Shrunk Down After 24 Hours

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2011

Preserved Lemons

These lemons have an intense flavor and can be added to any recipe that includes lemons.

Ingredients:

  • 5 Medium or 3 Large Lemons
  • 2 Lemons For Juicing
  • 1/2 Cup Kosher Salt

Directions:

  1. Wash the lemons in hot soapy water, rinse, and dry.
  2. Cut off the ends of each lemon, then cut into quarters (smaller lemons) or sixths (larger lemons).
  3. Sterilize a large canning jar and lid.
  4. Place the lemon wedges into the jar being careful not to crush the flesh, but still packing them in fairly firmly.
  5. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of salt between each layer, and sprinkle the remaining salt on top.
  6. Juice the last two lemons, and pour over the lemons.
  7. Store the lemons in the refrigerator, turning upside down every other day or so to ensure all of the lemons get covered in the salty syrup.
  8. Once cured, after about 2 to 3 weeks, you can begin to use them.
  9. Lemons will keep stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.