Preserved lemons are a versatile and delicious ingredient that can add a unique flavor to a variety of dishes. They are commonly used in Moroccan and Middle Eastern cuisine, but have gained popularity around the world.
While it’s easy to buy preserved lemons at many grocery stores, making your own at home is simple and cost-effective. In this article, we’ll show you how to make preserved lemons in just a few easy steps.
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients
To make preserved lemons, you’ll need:
- 4-5 lemons
- 1/2 cup of kosher salt
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks (optional)
- 4-5 bay leaves (optional)
- A sterilized jar with a tight-fitting lid
Step 2: Prepare the Lemons
Wash the lemons thoroughly and dry them with a clean towel. Cut off the ends of each lemon and make two deep cuts in each lemon, without cutting all the way through. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of salt into the cuts of each lemon.
Step 3: Pack the Lemons in a Jar
Place a tablespoon of salt at the bottom of the jar. Pack the lemons tightly into the jar, layering them with salt as you go. Add the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves, if using.
Step 4: Seal the Jar and Let it Sit
Once the jar is full, press down on the lemons to release their juices. If the juice doesn’t cover the lemons, add freshly squeezed lemon juice until they are fully covered. Seal the jar tightly and let it sit at room temperature for at least three days, shaking the jar gently once a day to distribute the salt.
Step 5: Refrigerate and Wait
After three days, transfer the jar to the refrigerator and let the lemons sit for at least three weeks before using. The longer the lemons sit, the more flavorful they will become. Preserved lemons can be stored in the refrigerator for up to six months.
Q: Can I use any type of lemon to make preserved lemons? A: Meyer lemons are often recommended for making preserved lemons because they have a thinner skin and less bitterness than other lemons. However, you can use any type of lemon you like.
Q: Can I use table salt instead of kosher salt? A: While you can use table salt, kosher salt is recommended because it has a larger grain size, which makes it easier to measure and distribute evenly.
Q: How do I use preserved lemons in cooking? A: Preserved lemons can be used in a variety of dishes, including tagines, salads, and marinades. The flesh of the lemon can be used, but the rind is where the most flavor is concentrated.
Making your own preserved lemons at home is an easy and cost-effective way to add a unique and delicious flavor to your cooking.
With just a few ingredients and a little bit of patience, you can create a staple ingredient that will elevate your dishes to the next level. So why not give it a try and make some preserved lemons today?
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