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Preserved Lemons..a tutorial

Printed From: Foods of the World Forum
Category: Africa
Forum Name: North Africa
Forum Discription: Where Mediterranean and Arabic cuisines were married.
Printed Date: 21 September 2020 at 19:06

Topic: Preserved Lemons..a tutorial
Posted By: Hoser
Subject: Preserved Lemons..a tutorial
Date Posted: 13 April 2010 at 03:51

Preserved Lemons 

If you have ever tried good North African cuisine, specifically will be familiar with an absolutely indispenable ingredient in their preparation. I'm speaking of course about preserved would be impossible to impart the flavors of this item to a dish with any substitution.
That being said, they are also outrageously expensive (if you're lucky enough to find them) ...I saw one lemon being sold for $7.95. Needless to say if we're going to cook Moroccan, we'd better learn to preserve our own lemons. I did a batch yesterday, so I guess now would be a good time to talk everyone through it.
We'll start with the essentials..basically all that is required is a sterilized jar, lemons and good kosher or sea salt. You'll notice I add some mediterranean spices to mine, just because that is the cuisine in which they will be used. My extras include cinnamon, assorted peppercorns, coriander seeds (just a few), bay leaf and some whole cloves.
Scrub the lemons under cool water and pat dry, then trim off the bud ends.
I then like to quarter mine, or cut into 8ths if they are large lemons. There are several schools of thought on this, and you may find traditionalist saying "don't cut all the way through the lemon...cut it so you can salt and then put the whole lemon in the jar" This is nothing more than personal preference, or esthetics. I cut mine smaller so I can pack more into one jar. Being the cheap S.O.B. that I am, it makes good fiscal sense.
Cut the rest of your lemons and remove as many seeds as you can, then place in a non-reactive bowl and top with sea or kosher salt. Here I used about 2/3 cup of coarse sea salt.
Toss the lemons and salt well, and  have your spices ready if about 1/4 inch of salt in the sterile jar and then begin packing the lemons in. Pack as tightly as you can..the object is to get the juice out of the lemons. Alternate with the spices . You may need about 4 or 5 extra lemons here...cut them and juice them so that after you're done packing, you'll have enough juice to cover the lemons in the jar.
Yes, all those lemons did fit into that little jar.
I also like to label and date mine so there is no confusion. Now we cover the lemons with the extra juice, seal the jar tightly and leave it at room temp for a month. Shake the jar gently at least once a day to distribute the salt and spices. After 30 days, you may refrigerate, but it is not necessary ..if it makes you feel better go ahead. You can also pour a thin layer of olive oil over the lemons first if you like to help seal a little more. These lemons will last at least a year, and more than likely much longer than that.
When you use them you may want to use the pulp, or just the rind sliced up's up to you, experiment and have fun!

Go with your food!

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 13 April 2010 at 06:47
excellent! this method is mentioned in a T/L FOTW book i have for north africa (quintet of cuisines, i believe) and i've been wanting to try it. they look great!

Posted By: Hoser
Date Posted: 31 May 2010 at 03:27

I wish I had taken a quick picture of it, but things were hectic. Saturday night at a gathering here at  Hoser Manor, the ladies were drinking lemon martinis, when one of them spied my jar of preserved lemons and wanted to try it. I told her it might be a bit salty in the martini, but she rather enjoyed   it...said it was "like salt with a marguarita".

Another reason to make some preserved lemonBig smile

Go with your food!

Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 05 January 2013 at 13:55
Great Job Hoser,
Thanks so much for posting ... We were just speaking about your recipe, because I had prepared a Tagine of Chicken Breasts with green olives and fresh lemon; as I was in Zürich, and the Gals requested this dish ... Nathalia´s mom in law took the 4 older kids to the cinema, so it was just the 3 couples and one year old Anthony Luca ...
Took photo of final table setting ...
Thanks, for posting, and have to give this a try.

Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.

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