preserved lemon

Preserved lemons are a key ingredient in Moroccan cooking. A little bit sour, a little bit salty, they add a very distinctive seasoning to your favorite North African dishes. You can easily find them in stores selling Moroccan products, but it’s easy to make your own, ensuring that only the best organic lemons are used. Before all of winter’s citrus has disappeared, make a batch (or several!) of these preserved lemons, to have on-hand for Moroccan cooking.

Preserved Lemon Recipe

Try using sweeter Meyer lemons in this recipe. It will work just fine with regular lemons, but Meyer lemons lend a bit of extra sweetness to the condiment.

10 organic Meyer lemons
1/2 cup kosher salt
added spices, if desired (cinnamon, coriander, chili peppers…)
a sterilized jar 

Sprinkle a few tablespoons of salt in the bottom of the jar.

Wash the outside of the lemons and dry them well. Trim the ends of the lemon, being sure not to cut into the flesh. Slice into the lemons as if to quarter them, keeping the base intact, so that the lemon stays together. Sprinkle the interior of the lemon with salt; then add to the jar. Repeat with the other lemons, packing them into the jar and squishing them down with a wooden spoon, so that the juice rises to the top of the jar and all of the lemons fit into the jar.

If you are using spices, alternate adding the spices with the lemon, so that they are packed in with the lemons.

Top with remaining salt. Seal the jar and allow to sit at room temperature for four days, turning the jar upside down occasionally.

Refrigerate for at least 3 weeks and up to 6 months.

Use your preserved lemons in your favorite Moroccan recipes. Here are just a few ideas to get you started!

Image: dorte f