About 3 weeks ago I started getting a bit stir crazy without anything fermenting in our house. I’m used to nursing kefir along, watching cider bubbling in the closet or chasing babies to keep them away from a boiling kettle of beer. One of our good foodie friends here started telling me about how they had learned how to make preserved lemons recently and I instantly decided that had to happen immediately.
There’s really nothing to it. Some lemons, lots of salt, a bit of extra lemon juice and time.
You can slice them or the more traditional approach is to score them almost all the way through the middle four ways and pack them full of a tablespoon of salt per lemon. I tried both methods and I personally liked quartering them as they are easier to remove after they are finished.
Smash them down with a wooden spoon or a cocktail muddler to release their juices. You will want to repeat this the first 3 days or so as they will continue to release juices. I didn’t have super juicy lemons so I added additional lemon juice to them after 3 days to completely submerge them in juice.
Most of the recipes I consulted suggested a tight fitting lid which I did not have for this large jar. My normal paper towel with a rubberband tactic that I use with my kefir seems to have resulted in an equally delicious result so I believe as long as the contaminants are kept out you should be fine.
And then we wait….and wait…and wait some more. I tried to forget about how much I wanted to eat them and actually did successfully do so. I had planned to put them in the fridge after a week but it wasn’t until 2 weeks had passed that I remembered.
3 weeks in (today!) we tasted them. They are deliciously tangy and salty and yet slightly sweet too. I certainly wouldn’t eat them straight out of the jar but I cannot wait to make some dishes with them!
Most recipes call for removing the pulp (which is the least appetizing part we tasted) and using the rind only.
I’m off to experiment with them but here’s some ideas to get you going if you already have some made!
12 Ways Preserved Lemons Make Everything Better
Olives and Preserved Lemon Appetizer
Marinated Mozzarella with Preserved Lemon and Basil
How To Make Preserved Lemons
- 4-8 lemons Meyer are preferable
- 4-8 tablespoons salt
- Lemon Juice
- 1. Cut lemons into quarters or score almost through in a X shape.
2. Cover each lemon with a tablespoon of salt.
3. Pack into a glass jar and smash down with a spoon or cocktail muddler.
4. Cover with tight fitted lid or a cloth or papertowel secured tightly with a rubberband.
5. Smash down every day for 3 days. If not completely immersed by day 3 then top up with lemon juice until submersed.
6. Allow to sit on the counter for 1-2 weeks then refrigerate for at least 1 week.
9 thoughts on “How To Make Preserved Lemons”
I made a recipe like this a few years ago as I embarked on my fermentation journey. It got jostled around among other ferments as it aged…for YEARS!! I finally said, “What the heck! Let’s just blend it all up into a simple lemon sauce (our family was loving lemon juice on everything)! Oh, my! The FLAVOUR! Wow!! Sublime! Yeah, make a quadruple batch, and split them up in small jars and wait FOREVER! Then, when your resistance finally breaks down, consume the smallest jar first! “Rinse and repeat”!
That sounds incredible!
This sounds fantastic. I’m going to buy some lemons today and try this. But I’m a bit confused. Will the lemons remain moist? What kind of recipes would you use them in? Is the high salt content a problem in some recipes?
The lemons don’t get eaten as lemon slices per say…you don’t eat the inside of the lemon, once it has aged you remove that section and just chop up the rind. It does stay moist but is more like a chutney that you put on top of hummus or mix into salads, sprinkle on top of eggplant, on pasta etc. They are salty so you do want to make sure you are looking for a pop of sweet and salty. I need to make some more of these, we are out and love them! This is one of our favorite recipes to use them in: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/12957-chermoula-eggplant-with-bulgur-and-yogurt
Hope that helps!
Thank you for this about the lemons. Do you have a way to preserve lemon or orange rinds to make zest? I never seem to have any lemon or oranges when I want them. Having some in the freezer would be a tremendous help.
This is a great post on preserving lemon zest, juice and slices!
I never even knew you could preserve lemons! Can’t wait to try this out. Thanks for the tips from your experience 🙂