Preserved lemons are a great Moroccan delicacy. Pickling (more on lactic fermentation later) mellows the lemon rind of it’s tartness and makes the flesh more lemony! This is a very good use of lemons as they add a distinct and memorable taste to any dish, keep wonderfully, and make delightful gifts. Also, they are so quick to prepare that it is possible to just make one jar at a time.
N.B. If you have been gardening or have lots of little nicks on your hands, use gloves!
- You will need clean and sterile glass jars, I recommend the wide-mouthed pint size.
- Lemons. I prefer Meyer lemons for their flavor, thin skin and smaller size.
- Kosher salt
- Bay leaves
- Wash and dry lemons. Organic lemons that have not been sprayed are preferable.
- Quarter the top 2/3 of the lemons, making sure you can splay the fruit.
- Splay the lemons, and drizzle with kosher salt.
- Start filling the jar and yes push the lemons down to start releasing their juice and accommodate more!
- When you are half way up the jar, add a cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves, and 8 peppercorns.
- Continue filling the jar, making sure to push down and pack as tightly as possible.
- Cover, store in a cool dark corner of your kitchen and let the magic begin.
- Keep the jars someplace close as you will be required to shake and turn the jars now and again.
- In about 3 weeks the lemons should be pickled.
Pickled lemons have many uses but the most important thing to know is that you must always rinse the lemons before use. Once the excess salt has been removed, the lemon can be used. Here are a few ideas…
- quarter and use in a chicken stew
- slice and cook over fish
- puree and use as the salt additive for a meal of couscous and your favorite tagine
- quarter and let dry in the sun, once dried and finely sliced they make a wonderful accompaniment to mussels, clams, and most other shellfish