Preserved Lemons

Lemons1smMy backyard has a Meyer lemon tree, I find this one of the greatest perks of my place. When first introduced to preserved lemons, I really didn’t know what to do with them, as they are not a common place occurrence in the American cuisine. As I became acquainted with Moroccan food, I came to realize that you can use preserved lemons in just about anything. Roast chicken, braised meat, and sauteed vegetables just to begin. I’ll follow shortly with some of my favorite recipes after these are finished, in this post I wanted to share the process of preserving lemons. I have a fondness for just about anything citrus. I often joke that I died of scurvy in a past life.

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Start by scrubbing the lemons with a clean kitchen brush to remove any dirt, and dry them on a clean dish towel. I find that the most complicated process of preserving lemons, is sterilizing the jars. The first time doing this, I dumped hot water all over my bare feet and had scalding water rush down my arms. I was moving too quickly, and when I used the tongs to grab the jars out of the pot, the water rushed down them and onto my feet and arms. If you take your time, however I’m sure you will be safe from harm.

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Thoroughly wash the jars, lids, and rings with warm soapy water. While doing that bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using tongs, gently place 2 jars at a time, depending on the size of the pot, and boil for 5 minutes. You want the jars to be completely submersed in water. Very carefully lift the now sterilized jar out of the pot of boiling water, and air dry.

Cut a lemon in quarters without cutting all the way through, leaving the lemon connected  on one end. Put one tablespoon of kosher salt into each sliced lemon and place in the jar. Fill the jar full of however many lemons will fit, and screw the lid on tightly. Store the jar for three weeks to a month before using. Once opened, only use a clean utensil to remove the lemon sections, and refrigerate.

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