23 December, 2007
Preserved LemonsTags: africa, condiment, lemon
This is a north african condiment, sometimes served chopped as a relish, or added to a braise or roast. A strong citrusy flavor that’s very different from fresh lemons. You’ll want 8 or 9 of the lemons to be large good sized and unblemished. The rest are just for their juice, so they can be smaller and cheaper. (If you want to economize, you can use fewer juice lemons and cutting the juice with filtered bottled water.) These will last 6 or 8 months in your fridge, maybe longer, considering the amount of acid and salt you are using.
This whole procedure basically makes the pithy white part, as well as the rest of the peel, edible. It packs a lot of flavor, too. It’s a surprisingly good addition to pot roast or other braised beef recipes, and it adds a lot of flavor to roasted poultry. (You can put a whole preserved lemon in the bird’s cavity, or you can slice/chop it up and put it under the skin on the breast and legs.)
Make one jar for yourself, and give the other to a friend.
2 dozen lemons
½ c kosher salt
1 or 2 pickle jars
Run the pickle jars and lids through the dishwasher. You’ll want them piping hot (sterilized) to work with them.
Squeeze half of the lemons, straining out the seeds.
Clean 8 or 9 of the lemons, scrubbing the skin and removing the label and the stem. Deeply score the lemons, end to end, without going all the way through to the center, several times. Work some salt into the cuts you’ve made. Squeeze the lemons into the jars, generously spreading salt between the layers. When full, pour the lemon juice in to the top.
Lid, and put in the refrigerator. Let macerate for 3 or 4 weeks, turning the bottle and redistributing the salt, every couple of days. Inspect for any signs of mold or creepy crawlers.