In order to make this recipe for preserved lemons, you will need lemons that are nice and soft. They have to be well ripened off the tree. If you have not picked them off your own tree, or from someone you know, then remember to scrub the wax off the skin! This will also remove any chemicals that might have been used during the growing season. I use an organic vegetable wash for all of my fruit and vegetables. I make sure that when the lemon tree is being generous I bottle as many as I can. The key is to having a wide necked bottle so that the lemons squeeze into them with ease.
These preserves are a staple ingredient in Moroccan food, but you are not limited to using them only in your tagine. They can be used in a variety of dishes, and your imagination is your only boundary. I have seen recipes that make use of them in salads, sauces and even desserts. Many North African dishes contain this ingredient but their use is not limited to this cuisine. You can use them for Sicilian dishes as well as ones from Greece and Spain.
- 6 lemons
- 150 mls coarse salt
- optional extras: paprika, black peppercorns, vanilla
- cut 5 lemons from the stem end into quarters almost to the base
- insert 1 tablespoon rock salt into each lemon and close it up
- place the lemons into a wide mouthed sterilized glass jar
- cut the last lemon in half and add the juice to the jar and then top with boiling water
- add any or all or none of your optional ingredients!
- wash the peel of one half and place on top of the lemons you are preserving
- seal and store in a cool dark place for 4 weeks - for the first week you must gently shake the jar once a day
- when you open the jar for the first time discard the lemon peel
- keeps for 6 months - refrigerate once opened
how to use in your cooking:
- remove a lemon from the jar with a fork
- separate the lemon into quarters and rinse under cold running water
- remove and discard the pulp - it has a bitter taste so if you do want to use it, use sparingly
- rinse the rind, pat dry and slice finely