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Sep 11, 2010 05:31 PM

An easy recipe for Preserved Lemons

This lady was a guest cook on Ina Garten's show recently. I have never seen anyone make preserved lemons without doing so by canning and preserving. This lady just cut a lemon in sixths, lenth wise and put them in a glass pyrex dish, sprinkled some kosher salt over them and covered them with water. She preheated her oven to 250 F. and baked them uncovered for 3 hours. She let them cool and placed them in a jar and refrigerated them. I forget if she added any of the water to the jar, but it's a good way to save lemons that you know are going to go bad. Just thought I'd share.

The person who I am paraphrazing is Gail Arnold.

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  1. Thanks for the tip. I've tried other recipes that resulted in mold. I think the heat may do the trick.

    1. If you are referring preserved lemons as those used in Northern African cooking, canning or preserving is not necessary and is not done. Simple quarter the lemons but do not cut through. Liberally stuff some coarse salt into them and close them up. More recently, I've been cutting the lemons all the way through into quarters so I can pack more into a jar. Pack tightly into jars and cover with lemon juice. Screw on lid and give the jar a good shaking. Store jars in a cool dark place for about 6 weeks before using. Depending how fast one is is using them, I refrigerate it once the jar is opened. Any jar with a tight non corrosive lid will do. It is not much work.
      As long as one keep the lemons submerge in lemon juice and salt, the acid of the lemon and the salt should prevent any mold from forming. Just don't dip dirty fingers into the jar when removing the preserved lemons.

      4 Replies
      1. re: PBSF

        Paula Wolfert, in her World of Food cookbook, has a recipe for 7 Day Preserved Lemons which I use whenever I make them.

        2 ripe lemons
        1/3 cup kosher salt (or any coarse salt)
        1/2 cup fres lemon juice
        Olive oil

        Scrub and dry lemons well. Cut each into 8 wedges. Toss with the salt and place in a 1/2 pt. glass jar with a glass or plastic-coated lid. Pour in lemon juice. Close jar tightly and let the lemons ripen at room temp for 7 days. Shake the jar every day to distribute the salt and lemon juice. After they're ready, pour the olive oil over them to cover and store in the fridge. These last 6 months.

        1. re: oakjoan

          I have used Paula Wolfert 7 day recipe when don't have the time to let lemons sit for 6 weeks. I don't like it as well as the peel does get soft enough.

          1. re: PBSF

            I agree, but the peel gets soft as time goes by. I usually have most of it left over whenever I make the shortcut recipe.

            PBSF: Have you ever used Meyer lemons for this? Amazingly good. I have a tree and so does my neighbor. Nobody else ever uses them - dumb bozos!

            1. re: oakjoan

              I also have a Meyer lemon tree. They do make great preserve lemons though I rather use them for other things.

      2. Saw this in Bon App├ętit - haven't tried it, but intend to. The easiest way of all.

        9 Replies
          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            That's what I thought! It leapt off the page at me.

          2. re: buttertart

            It seems weird to slice the lemon crosswise. I get that that makes it cook to tender quickly, but a bit less practical than wedges, given that the peel is what one uses.

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              I agree Caitlin, that struck me as being odd as well.

              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                Well, it's in 1/4 in rounds, so the peel would be too - you don't want hunks of the peel in things, do you?

                1. re: buttertart

                  No, you usually chop the peel. I just meant that it's easier to lose the flesh and chop the peel if the flesh is on one side, peel on the other, rather than slices with flesh in the middle. This certainly is fast, if it reasonably replicates the flavor and texture of preserved lemons.

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    Gotcha, but it's kind of six of one and a half dozen of the other since you'll land up with strips that can be chopped. I bet the flesh largely disappears in cooking.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      In North African cooking, generally, only the peel is used in cooking. The flesh can be easily scraped off and peel is rinsed to remove the excess salt before using.

                      1. re: PBSF

                        Of course. I am familiar with the ingredient, thanks.

          3. In this month's bon appetit (october) there's a recipe for a root vegetable tagine that also makes a "quick" preserved lemon by cooking thin slices in lemon juice and coarse salt for about 10 minutes. I just made them this morning in preparation for the tagine tonight. I admit I once tried the traditional way but was just too worried about them possibly being spoiled to use them. (and yes, the flesh more or less disappears during the cooking process, so you really end up with just the rind)