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Moroccan Preserved Lemons

Moroccan and Middle Eastern cultures have known for generations the wonderful flavor and uses for this condiment. Preserved lemons are created by brining them in salt, a few spices, and their own juices – that’s it! You do need a bit of time to create this power-packed flavor, so make sure you plan ahead before you need them for any upcoming recipes.

Other uses for preserved lemons can be; added to horseradish, pizza, Bloody Mary’s, chicken tagines, rice, vinaigrette's, salads, stews, soup, tempanade, mashed with butter and spread on seafood. You can really use them anywhere lemons are called for (in savory recipes), just substitute in a bit of these preserved lemons when you want a bit more intense lemon flavor.

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Make sure to thoroughly was all the lemons to remove any residual pesticides and fungicides. Organic lemons should also be washed just as thoroughly to remove any edible wax (used to slow the loss of moisture), as well they can potentially be sprayed with a color dye.

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Cut ¼” from both ends of the lemons, then starting from the tip and cutting down, quarter them, but do not cut all the way - keep the lemon attached at one end.

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Pry the lemons open and sprinkle 1Tbsp salt into the insides of each of the lemons.

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Pack them lemons into the jar, squishing them down so that their juice is extracted.

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Once all lemons are added, ensure their liquid is covering them all. If not add some more fresh lemon juice to top it up.

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Sprinkle over any remaining salt, and add the bay leaf. Make sure the lemons are completely submerged (I broke off the spoon end of a clean wooden spoon and jammed in into the jar to keep the lemons submerged the entire time). Cover the jar with plastic wrap and elastic band, and let sit at room temperature overnight. For the next 3 days, once a day press down on the lemons to encourage them to release more of their juices. After the third day, loosely place the lid on the jar and store in a cool dark place for one month. After one month they are ready to use. Keep refrigerated after this point.
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Moroccan Preserved Lemons
5.0 from 1 reviews
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Serves: 32
Other uses for preserved lemons can be; added to horseradish, Bloody Mary’s, tagines, rice, vinaigrette's, salads, stews, soup, tempanade, mashed with butter and spread on seafood. You can really use them anywhere lemons are called for (in savory recipes), just substitute in a bit of these preserved lemons when you want a bit more intense lemon flavor.
Ingredients
  • 8-10 lemons, scrubbed very clean
  • ½ cup sea salt or kosher salt, approx (do not use table salt that contains iodine)
  • 1 Tbsp peppercorns
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • Extra fresh squeezed lemon juice, if needed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sterilized quart canning jar*
Instructions
  1. Add 2 Tbsp of salt in the bottom of a sterilized jar.
  2. In a small dish combine remaining salt, peppercorns and coriander together.
  3. Cut ¼” from both ends of the lemons, then starting from the tip and cutting down, quarter them, but do not cut all the way - keep the lemon attached at one end.
  4. Pry the lemons open and sprinkle 1Tbsp salt into the insides of each of the lemons. Pack them lemons into the jar, squishing them down so that their juice is extracted. Once all lemons are added, ensure the liquid is covering them all. If not add some more fresh lemon juice to top it up.
  5. Sprinkle over any remaining salt, and add the bay leaf. Make sure the lemons are completely submerged (I broke off the spoon end of a clean wooden spoon and jammed in into the jar to keep the lemons submerged the entire time).
  6. Cover the jar with plastic wrap and elastic band, and let sit at room temperature overnight.
  7. For the next 3 days, once a day press down on the lemons to encourage them to release more of their juices. After the third day, loosely place the lid on the jar and store in a cool dark place for one month. Once every 3-4 days gently shake the jar to redistribute the salt in the solution.
  8. After one month they are ready to use. Keep in the fridge after this point for up to 6months.
  9. How To use: after removing a lemon(s), you can rinse it or leave as is - taste it both ways so you know how salty it is (it's not as salty as you think). You can use a knife to scrape off the pulp and use only the peel (which is the main part you'll be using in recipes), or you can use the pulp as well. Finely chop, mash, cut into strips, or use a whole wedge - it's all up to you how much lemon flavor and texture you want in the dish you're using it for.
Notes
You must sterilize the jar you use to ensure any bacteria or germs that are on the jar are destroyed. Otherwise your lemons will be contaminated, and all your hard work will go down the drain. To sterilize jar without boiling: wash jar with hot soapy water, rinse well and dry. Place in a 225°F oven for 20 minutes, then turn off the oven and allow to cool inside the oven until it's cool enough to handle. Sudden changes in the jars temperature can cause it to shatter, so ensure it is cool before you fill it.

 

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16 Responses to Moroccan Preserved Lemons

  1. Rhonda J HUNTER June 29, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

    This recipe sounds like a winner. One problem - the jar sterilizing. Best to shut off the oven at the end of 20 minutes and let the jar cool in the oven. Sudden temp change can cause the jar to shatter. Personal experience.

    • Marla Hingley
      Marla Hingley June 30, 2014 at 7:17 am #

      Great advice, thanks! Canning is not something I do much of at all, so thanks for tip, I'll update the recipe.

  2. Rosemary July 2, 2014 at 5:00 am #

    Is the liquid that you add, more lemon juice. I gathered it was after reading the recipe a few times over .

    • Marla Hingley
      Marla Hingley July 2, 2014 at 8:35 am #

      Yes the only liquid that is added is more fresh lemon juice. I only needed to add a few tablespoons to top up the jar, so that all the lemons were covered.

  3. Alice July 2, 2014 at 9:00 am #

    So. now you have them pickled,where do you use them???????????????????????????

    • Marla Hingley
      Marla Hingley July 2, 2014 at 9:32 am #

      A Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette recipe is coming out tomorrow so stay tuned! Other uses for preserved lemons can be added to; horseradish, Bloody Mary’s, chicken tagines, rice, vinaigrette's, soup, tempanade, mashed with butter and spread on seafood. You can really use them in any savory recipe where lemons are called for.

    • Liz July 2, 2014 at 10:49 am #

      Jamie Oliver, my favourite Food Network Chef, throws one into the pot when making rice, quinoa, and couscous. I have not tried it yet as I have not been able to find the preserved lemons in Vancouver. Now I'll make them myself!

  4. Roxy July 2, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    Can you use a bottle of Real Lemon to top off the jar?

    • Marla Hingley
      Marla Hingley July 2, 2014 at 9:41 am #

      I would just buy a few extra lemons and use their juices to top up the jar. This way you know exactly what ingredients are in there, and there is no chance of spoilage due to any additives that may come from the bottled lemon juice (it does contain sulphites), or potential contamination from the bottle.

  5. Justine July 2, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

    Cool dark place....can I put them in the frig?

    • Marla Hingley
      Marla Hingley July 2, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

      Not for the first month. Keep them in a dark place like a cupboard or something that doesn't get exposed to sunlight, or the basement would be good too. After the month is up, then you can refrigerate it (if it were refrigerated while the 'preserving' is taking place, it would take probably 3 times as long to achieve the same result).

      • Barb July 3, 2014 at 6:41 am #

        With all the salt added, do the lemons end up with lots if sodium and a salty taste?

        • Marla Hingley
          Marla Hingley July 3, 2014 at 8:14 am #

          They aren't as salty as you think, especially if you scrape the pulp off and just use the peel (which is the main part of the lemon that you'll be using in recipes - I add the pulp to recipes like salad dressing if I want a bit more salty flavor and a thicker texture of the vinaigrette). Rinsing the rind before you use it will remove a lot of the salt. I hope you give the recipe a try, these have such a unique flavor you'll be trying to use them in everything!

  6. Khakie July 3, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

    Can't wait to try this. My mouth is watering reading this

  7. Shirley July 4, 2014 at 3:03 am #

    Can't wait to try this and many of the gluten free recipes you offer. I made a lemon, garlic, onion and honey condiment which is good for cough, etc. It lasts forever and is also good for flavoring, etc.

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