How-To Make Preserved Lemons
As with the rest of the country, finances have been tightened up here at The MacKay Way. With the holidays rolling along I’ve been trying to come up with creative and affordable gifts for those in my life.
This morning I realized that I had a large bag of lemons in the fridge that I’d been given by a friend who’d gotten a deal. The feller had just finished up the last of the preserved lemons that I’d made last spring, so it was time for another jar.
Preparing the Lemons
As I set out to make a large jar for us, I realized that I had enough lemons for two small jars that I’ll give to two foodie friends as part of their Christmas gift. If you start now, you’ll be able to give them at Christmas and they will ALMOST be ready to eat. They do take 4-5 weeks to preserve, so start sooner than later.
Ingredients per jar:
Lemons small enough to fit “whole” through neck of jar
Sterilized Jar(s) with lid(s)
Lemon juice to fill the jar (a quart jar will need approx 1.5 cups)
1-2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
Wash/scrub up each lemon. Leaving the stem end in tact, make lengthwise slices in each lemon twice as shown in photo above. When the quarters are open it will resemble a flower. Open each lemon flower and sprinkle about one teaspoon of salt on the inside quarters.
Place lemons into the jars, closed up as though they are whole, and really pack them in. If you find there is room at the top, place a few sterilized stones to help pack them in tightly before placing the lid on top.
Set the jar(s) in a warm place, preferably a sunny windowsill, for 3-4 days allowing juice to collect in the jar.
After 3-4 days, open the jars and pour in the lemon juice making sure to completely cover the lemons. Next, pour the olive oil gently into the top of the jar until you have a thin layer. Close the jar tightly and place in fridge.
The brine may look cloudy at first, but over time it will clear up. After 3-4 weeks, once brine is clear, the lemons are ready to eat. The liquid brine is also tasty in salad dressings and as liquid added to some chutney.
Once preserved, the lemons will be good for 2 years, refrigerated. That’s a good long time. They never live nearly that long in this house.
Lemons resting on a sunny windowsill.
We use them in Middle Eastern Cooking, North African cooking and as a side dish on their own and in chutneys with Indian dishes.