Preserving Lemons with Salt
Lemons can be preserved in salt, and provide that extra special something that goes well with Moroccan food, roasts and fish. Frankly I don’t make a lot of Moroccan food, but the first recipes you’ll find on the internet for using preserved lemons are for Chicken Tangine.
To be completely honest, I’ve never made Moroccan food, or food from North Africa, ever, but I have it on good authority that you can use these preserved lemons on just about anything. I’ll be proving that out pretty soon and trying it on everything from tuna salad to grilled salmon and probably some marinades. A friend just sent me a message that she ate most of her jar of Moroccan lemons sliced with fresh pasta and black pepper Percorino.
To preserve lemons, you will need:
- Meyer lemons
- Kosher salt, sea salt, or fancy salt
- Glass jar with a tight lid
Both methods I read call for using Meyer lemons. I used Meyer’s for preserving, and just some Plain Old lemons from our other lemon tree to get enough juice to cover them to the top of the jar. If you already make fermented foods you know what type of salt to use, but basically just use something without added iodine, which inhibits bacteria that ferment food. In other preserving methods, iodine can also discolor the food you are preserving, and salt with added iodine will likely have other additives like anti-clumping agents that you probably don’t want to eat. Kosher salt, sea salt, canning salt, and fancy gourmet salt are usually free of iodine and other gick, and sea salt also has beneficial trace minerals.
Take the Meyer lemons and a sharp knife, and cut the lemons into quarters lengthwise, leaving them attached at one end. There doesn’t seem to be any practical reason for leaving the quartered lemon attached at one end except appearance. If you cut all the way through you can still use the lemon quarters!
Next, grab some salt and smash it into the crevice of the lemon, and knead the salt into the flesh of the four quarters. Do this over a bowl and catch the juice and salt that drips out during the process. I used about 1/4 tsp. of salt per lemon.
When the lemons are salted, please them into your glass jar. When you’re finished, pour all the juice on top of them. My lemons were a little dry, so I picked some other lemons from the yard, juiced them, and covered the lemons to the top of the jar. Leave the jar on the counter for 3 to 4 weeks, turning occasionally to mix the lemon juice and the salt. The lemons will get very soft. You can then store the jar in the frig for at least 6 months, one article said a year, and make sure the brine covers the lemons.
All parts of your preserved lemon can be used except the seeds. Many recipes separate the lemon flesh from the rind but use them both in the recipe. Some call for preserved rind only, and discard the flesh, but waste not, want not.
So the next time life gives you lemons, preserve them in salt. That’ll teach ‘em.
Here’s the awesometastic video on youtube.