Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Preserved Lemons--How to Make Them

First time I made preserved lemons many years ago I was just intrigued by their look but I did not really know any good recipe to use them. So they just stood on my kitchen counter as decoration until eventually, after a year or so, I threw them away.

Only later I found in French magazines several recipes calling for preserved lemons. Most attractive were those coming from exotic cuisines. They inspired me to make another jar of preserved lemons to try some of these recipes. Ever since from time to time, when I buy a large bag of lemons, I make a jar of preserved lemons. I tried a couple of recipes calling for them and I already have found one favorite. I will share the recipe for this dish next time. But in order to make it you need to make preserved lemons first.

There are two method to preserve lemons. First uses only salt and water, the other salt and oil. I prefer the second as it is less salty and I can use the remaining oil, strongly infused with the lemon aroma, to make salads. Preserved lemons are usually good in a week and can stay in a jar from two to six months.

Preserved Lemons

3 lemons preferably organic,
2 tbsp sea salt,
1 and 1/2 cup of olive oil,
2 bay leaves,
red peppercorns(optional).

1. Put whole lemons in a medium bowl and cover them for two minutes with boiling water. Drain.
2. Cut lemons in four. Place in a medium bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. Cover and let marinate over night.

3. On the next day, drain lemons on a colander. Place them in a small vacuumed jar. Add bay leaves and pepper if you have. Cover completely with olive oil, close the jar and let marinate for a week.
4. Before using lemons you can just dry them a bit and use less oil for cooking or rinse them under the running water.