Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Preserved Lemons

Have you seen Middle Eastern food recipes that call for preserved lemons?  They are difficult to find in  regular markets and can be expensive to buy if you do find them.  You can substitute lemon juice and zest in the recipe.  I did it when I made this Morrocan chicken, but you don't need to.  Making your own preserved lemons is easy, inexpensive and just takes a little patience.  This recipe from Cook's Illustrated is a good one.

Preserved lemons keep for six months in the refrigerator and there is nothing like them for flavor.

Make up a jar for your larder and then come back in a bit and see what we make with them.

Preserved Lemons
Makes 4 Lemons
We prefer Meyer lemons; however, if you can't find them, you can substitute regular (Eureka) lemons. Look for lemons with thin skins. Do not substitute table salt for the kosher salt. Depending on the size of your lemons, you may need more or less lemon juice to cover the lemons. You will need a 1-quart glass Mason jar for this recipe. The preserved lemons can be refrigerated for up to six months.
     1. Cut each lemon lengthwise into quarters, stopping 1 inch from bottom, so lemons stay intact at base.
     2. Hold 1 lemon over bowl and pour 3 tablespoons of salt into cavity of lemon. Gently squeeze lemon, rubbing cut surfaces together. Place lemon in 1-quart glass Mason jar. Repeat with remaining lemons and salt. Add accumulated salt from bowl to jar.
     3. Pour lemon juice into jar so lemons are submerged. Cover jar tightly with lid, shake, and refrigerate,   shaking jar once per day to redistribute salt and juice for first 4 days. Let lemons cure in refrigerator until  glossy and softened, 4 to 6 weeks.
     4. When ready to use, cut off desired amount of preserved lemon. Using knife, remove pulp and white pith from rind. Slice, chop, or mince rind as desired. (For uncooked applications, rinse lemons to remove excess salt before using.)


  1. I have never thought of doing this. Just looking at them screams spingtime, which I'm ready for:)

  2. I'm so glad you did this post...my husband was just talking about preserved lemons the other day. I haven't made any in years and they are so simple. Thanks for the reminder.