Thursday, August 13, 2009
Since I used preserved lemons in today’s recipe I thought I should post a recipe for them in case you can’t buy them locally. Preserved lemons are very easy to make. This is a recipe that I pull out almost every Christmas to make presents for my foodie friends. If you haven’t tried to make your own preserved lemons you should give it a try. It is much easier than canning (no heat required).
If you are unfamiliar with preserved lemons they are required for Moroccan cooking. The lemons are pickled in salt and the peel becomes very soft. They are used in stews, tagines or as a condiment in Moroccan cooking.
Makes 1 quart
8 organic lemons, whole
½ cup of kosher salt
8+ organic lemons for juice, as needed
4 cinnamon sticks
4 bay leaves
12 green cardamom pods
½ tablespoon of whole black peppercorns
½ tablespoon of coriander seed, whole
Wash the lemons well. Cut them into quarters from the top but stop ½ inch from the bottom so that the lemon will open like a flower. Sprinkle the inside of each of the 8 lemons with salt.
Place a tablespoon of salt in the bottom of the jar. Place a lemon in the jar firmly, adding more salt with each additional lemon. Continue adding lemons until the jar is full. Add the cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cardamom pods, peppercorns and coriander.
After all the lemons are in the jar add the remaining salt. Top the lemons with the fresh lemon juice to bring the level to the top of the jar. You want no more then ½ inch of headspace in the top of the jar. Put the lid on the jar.
Allow the lemons to sit at room temperature for at least 3 weeks. Turn the jar over each day for the first week so the salt will distribute evenly.
You can keep the lemons in the jar in your pantry for a year or more until you are ready to use them. Once you open the jar keep it the refrigerator.
To use the lemons take them out of the jar and rinse them under water to wash away the extra salt. In Morocco traditionally the peel is the only part of the lemon that is used. I sometimes use the flesh as well depending on the recipe. If I am not using the flesh I save it in the refrigerator to use later in vinaigrette or soup.
I did not post the stats for this recipe since the sodium will be far higher than reality since you rinse much of it away.
Once you have preserved lemons in the house you will find so many ways to use them. I like to make preserved lemon vinaigrette it is wonderful with most salads that contain olives. They are also fabulous in cold chickpea salads.
I will be posting some recipes that use preserved lemons in the future so you have a use for them in case you make a jar or two.