The other day my favourite local grocery store featured organic lemons twenty five cents each. A bargain. I filled my shopping bag with a couple of dozen of these little darlings to make PRESERVED LEMONS.
PRESERVED LEMONS are one of the indispensable ingredients of Moroccan cooking. I use it not just in tagines or with lamb and chicken I add the lemons to salads and vegetable dishes and use the pickling juice in salad dressings. No matter what some food writers say their unique pickled taste and silken texture cannot be duplicated with fresh lemon or lime juice.
The important thing in preserving lemons is to cover them with salted lemon juice. You can use the lemon juice over and over again. Preserved lemons are not complicated to make. You partially slice the lemons. Jam them into sterilized jars, add a few spices if desired and freshly squeezed lemon juice, You let the lemons ripen in a warm place for thirty days, shaking the jar each day to distribute the salt and juice. To use simply rinse the lemons as needed under running water, removing and discarding the pulp, if desired.
I have preserved lemons with olive oil but I prefer this recipe from Paula Wolfert’s book on Morocco food. Join me in MRS.BUTTERFINGERS kitchen for this exotic recipe for PRESERVED LEMONS.