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Preserved lemons recipe

Preserved lemons recipe


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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Fruit
  • Citrus fruit
  • Lemon

Preserved lemons are often called for in many Middle Eastern recipes. It's simple, quick and easy! They also make the perfect food gift for any gourmet cook or foodie.

6 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 1kg organic lemons
  • 250g sea salt (coarse or fine)
  • 1 dash olive oil

MethodPrep:10min ›Ready in:10min

  1. Wash the lemons and make an incision on the side of each lemon. Slightly open each lemon and insert some sea salt.
  2. Sterilise preserving jars and lids by placing them into a large stock pot covered with water. Bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the jars and lids with tongs.
  3. Place the lemons into the sterilised jars and pour just enough olive oil to cover. Seal the jars and use within 1-2 months.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(2)

Reviews in English (1)

Thank you for ur receipy. What do you do with the bitter taste tho? I made it and it became bitter due to the lemon peel-09 Jul 2013


Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemons have multiple culinary uses and impart intense, bright lemony flavor.

  • Jump to the Recipe Card
  • Jump to the Recipes Using Preserved Lemons and Preserved Lemons Uses or
  • Keep reading for relevant information and step by step instructions for making them (about 3 mins)

What to do with preserved lemons

Got a jar of preserved lemons lurking in the back of your fridge and don't know what to do with them? Look no further. From dressings to salads, stews, and as a flavouring for Middle Eastern dishes, we've got 10 imaginative ways of using them up. And they're all pretty easy, too!

Published: July 16, 2015 at 9:55 am

1. Make a dressing

We use preserved lemons a lot in the olive test kitchen, and they’re usually finely chopped in dressings for salads or fish. Here, it’s paired with a roast leg of lamb for a lighter, summery dinner rather than having a lamb roast. We’ve mixed it with capers, white wine vinegar, olives, garlic and plenty of fresh herbs for a sunny dressing with a big punch. You could add it to your regular salad dressings for a zesty kick – it’s more fragrant than regular lemon juice.

2. Put preserved lemons in a salad

Instead of adding preserved lemon to dressings, try adding it to more robust dishes such as lentil salads to brighten up pulses. It’s really lovely with puy lentils and kale like the recipe here. Top with plenty of goat’s curd, labneh or yogurt for a healthy but filling meal.

3. Cook them in a stew

Adding preserved lemons whole to one pot dishes means you get a more aromatic flavour. Or if you’re a die-hard preserved lemon fan, cut them into strips and add them to a chicken stew with olives and thyme… it’s like being transported to Morocco.

4. Pair them with cheese

Rich baked ricotta is paired with preserved lemon to cut though the creaminess in this dish. It’s a great vegetarian dinner party starter. If it’s too hot outside to turn the oven on, try whipped goat’s cheese (such as this one) with the preserved lemon dressing instead.

5. Give an extra dimension to middle eastern cooking

Preserved lemon isn’t the predominant flavour in these little spinach, feta and onion parcels, but they add something extra to the classic combination. You could add it to most spinach dishes for a fragrant hint, including spinach and mushroom pilaf, veggie lasagne or creamed spinach.

The Palomar’s shakshukit (essentially a deconstructed kebab) is a dish from Jerusalem of spiced mince meat, topped with plenty of dips including harissa, tahini, pesto, tapenade and, of course, preserved lemon. There might be quite a few ingredients in the list, but it’s totally worth it and would be a great starter to a Middle Eastern sharing menu.

7. Add them to salsas

Try pan-fried halibut topped with crispy panko breadcrumbs, with a super easy salsa dressing of tomato, preserved lemon, chives and olive oil. This would be great with any white fish for a quick supper. Just serve with seasonal veg, and you’ve got a healthy mid-week meal.

8. Add them to fish curry

Preserved lemon is great in fresh tomato fish curries. This one is spiced with cumin, coriander, saffron and lemon juice. Serve in a tagine with buttered couscous and a dollop of harissa for a quick but impressive main.

9. Use them with fresh lemon to create new flavour profiles

Whoever thought of griddling cucumbers is a genius. We’re fully on board. This recipe comes topped with sweet brown shrimp, coriander and yogurt. By mixing fresh lemon juice and preserved lemon peel, you get a really rounded lemon flavour which works well in this fresh dish. Spinkle over some toasted flaked almond and serve with crusty ciabatta for a main, or divide between small plates for a beautiful summery starter.

10. Add them to grains

Stir through spelt, barley or couscous and serve with Morroccan inspired stews, or perk-up cauliflower couscous with pomegranate, mint, red onion and lemon for a fragrant side dish that works especially well with these venison and mutton kofte.


Moroccan Chickpea Salad @ Delicious Everyday


How to Make Preserved Lemons&mdashand What to Do With Them Once You Do

Until recently, preserved lemons turned up mostly in Moroccan tagines and other North Africans stews, as well as some Middle Eastern dishes. But they’re definitely migrating to take their place in a well-stocked multi-ethnic home pantry. The jarred versions𠅊nd there are definitely some good ones out there𠅊re often so long preserved that their flavor becomes a bit acrid, intensely bitter and rocketfuel-esque. So if you’re at all a lemonhead, you’ll definitely want to start making your own.

At its most traditional, this means cutting whole lemons, rubbing them all over with coarse salt, and then packing them in a jar with salt and lemon juice to cover. You leave them at room temperature for 4 or 5 weeks to ferment, and then you can refrigerate them until you use them up. Another bonus of making your own preserved lemons is that the pulp, which so many recipes tell you to scrape out and discard, is actually fantastic for muddling into cocktails, pureeing into dips, adding to soups, sauces and stews, and mixing into your next pot of greens.

Here are just two examples of how to make preserved lemons:

Preserved Lemons: This is the classic version. Simple and effective.

Lemon Confit: Chef Eric Ripert&aposs lemon confit uses a sugar-salt mix. "I add lemon confit to so many dishes𠅏rom broiled fish to pork and beans," he says. He blends his lemon confit with butter to add a pleasantly pungent flavor to a broiled snapper. Before broiling, he dots some of the lemon butter on the fish, then serves more lemon butter on the side.

Once you&aposve mastered the preserved lemons, here are a few suggestions for what to do with them:

Broccoli with Preserved Lemon Yogurt: We loved this recipe so much we put it on the cover of the magazine! Of course the broccoli is fantastic, but it’s the yogurt sauce flavored with preserved lemon that’s the star. Once you make it, you’ll want to eat it on everything, from grilled bread and eggplant and okra, to shrimp or chicken kebabs, to lamb meatballs and baked white and sweet potatoes or squash.

Roasted Peppers with Preserved Lemon and Capers: In this typical Middle Eastern dish, preserved lemon offsets the sweetness of the peppers and adds an exotic dimension to the simply cooked vegetables.

Pan-Seared Cod with Preserved Lemon Aioli: Obviously lemon and fish go together like peanut butter and jelly, but the best takeaway from this recipe and the following one, besides the perfect fish cooking technique, are the super versatile sauces—the preserved lemon aioli that will up your sandwich game immensely and become your go-to mayo.

Trout with Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette: This quick dish from chef Viet Pham features trout fillets in a bright and tangy vinaigrette—which will quickly become the dressing for all of your grain and green salads this season.

Couscous with Red Lentils and Easy Preserved Lemons: If you’ve only got 20 minutes, this clever almost-instant take on preserved lemons is definitely worth a shot. It’s not traditional by any means, but it’s the perfect gateway to the real thing.


What Kind of Lemons Should I Use?

Meyer lemons are the lemon of choice in Morocco and are especially ideal for preserving because they’re sweeter/less tart than regular lemons to begin with and have such a wonderful flavor and aroma. If you can’t find Meyer lemons you can use regular lemons such as Eureka or Lisbon.

It’s generally recommended that you keep them refrigerated. Of course, traditionally there would have been no refrigeration, but you know how it is nowadays. We’ve become germ-conscious to the extreme. But sometimes it really is better to just play it safe. In the fridge the preserved lemons will keep up to 6 months – at least. Meaning they’ll last much longer, but again, that’s the general recommendation for us Western Worlders.


The weekend warmer: Slow-cooked lamb neck with preserved lemon relish

I love the fragrant, citrussy depth the preserved lemon adds to the long, gentle braise of this flavourful cut of lamb, and then the fresh punch it brings in the relish, cutting through the fattiness.

Photograph: Dan Jones/The Guardian

Serves 4
1 tbsp flavourless oil, plus a little extra
1kg lamb neck – 4 pieces (about 4cm each) with bone in – or neck fillets
Salt and black pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
2 bay leaves
2 sprig of thyme, leaves chopped
1 tbsp harissa
2 slices preserved lemon, flesh and pith removed and finely chopped
150ml dry white wine

For the relish
4 slices of preserved lemon, pith and flesh removed
1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ a lemon


Read more tips, recipes, and insights on a wide variety of topics from Dr. Weil here.

Coconut-Lemon Bars

Lemony Balsamic Vinaigrette

Mediterranean Stuffed Grape Leaves

Mediterranean Couscous


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Recipe Summary

  • 40 to 50 large lemons (about 10 pounds), washed and dried
  • 1 box (about 10 cups) kosher salt

Sterilize two 1.5-liter canning jars and two 1-liter canning jars with clamp-top lids (we used Fido brand) by boiling them and their rubber seals in water 10 minutes. Remove with tongs, and let cool.

Cut stem end off each of 24 to 30 lemons. Make 5 or 6 slits (a little less than 1/2 inch deep) down the length of each lemon with a sharp paring knife, cutting to within 1/2 inch of bottom of lemon but not all the way through. Press top of lemon with your palm to flatten and cause slits to splay open. Gather and save any juices that accumulate on cutting board. Pack as much salt as possible (about 1 tablespoon) into each slit.

Place about 1/2 cup salt in each 1.5-liter jar, and pour in a little lemon juice. Working with 1 jar at a time, add 1 lemon, and flatten as much as possible. Sprinkle in a little more salt, add another lemon and repeat process, adding more juice every so often. Repeat until you reach top of jar (each jar should take 12 to 15 lemons). Seal jars, and refrigerate 20 days, shaking and rotating once a day, before giving as a gift. Most but not all of the salt will dissolve.

For remaining lemons, trim stem end of each lemon and cut in half lengthwise cut each half into 8 pieces. For every 2 cups of lemon pieces, toss with 1/2 cup salt in a bowl. Fill two 1-liter jars with lemon mixture, pressing down as many lemon pieces as possible and causing them to exude some of their juice. Seal jars, and refrigerate at least 10 days, shaking and rotating once a day, before giving as gifts.