Recipe Preserved Lemon

Joined
30 Mar 2017
Messages
2,914
Location
Detroit, USA
Website
absolute0cooking.com
I swear I'm not trying to be cheeky here, but I couldn't resist. @morning glory asked about using preserved lemons in the latest cooking challenge, and was told that they weren't allowed. But, here, my ingredient is fresh lemons...to make preserved lemons. ;) I started these a few weeks ago, and they've matured beautifully. I've started putting them in almost everything, and they always work. They strike a surprisingly delightful balance of tangy and salty, with a bit of sweetness to mellow it out. I put some in a breakfast sandwich this morning with egg whites, pickled asparagus, and kimchi, and it was otherworldly.

I suppose one could integrate the preserving of the lemon into a recipe, but it's not really practical for reasons you'll see below. In brief, the assembly of the jar is simple, but the actual pickling takes...a very long time. Not sure how practical a recipe that starts in May and ends in June would be. But, if you wanted to list the time elements, it would look something like this:

Prep Time: 672 hours
Cook Time: 0

Now, the recipe. I typically only post my own recipes, which I define as recipes sufficiently different from anything else that I claim them as my own. But, preserving lemons is simple...all you need are lemons and salt at the core. However, this recipe by Paula Wolfert caught my eye. I find that the bay leaves and peppercorns add something to the overall product. Her recipe called for organic lemons, but my non-organic lemons seemed to work perfectly well.

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016212-preserved-lemons

Ingredients
  • 9 lemons
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
Directions
  1. Scrub 3 to 5 lemons, enough to fit snugly in a medium jar with a tight-fitting lid (have 2 to 4 more ready on the side). Slice each lemon from the top to within 1/2 inch of the bottom, almost cutting them into quarters but leaving them attached at one end. Rub kosher salt over the cut surfaces, then reshape the fruit. Cover the bottom of the jar with more kosher salt. Fit all the cut lemons in, breaking them apart if necessary. Sprinkle salt on each layer.
  2. Press the lemons down to release their juices. Add to the jar the peppercorns and bay leaves, then squeeze the additional lemons into the jar until juice covers everything.
  3. Close the jar and let ripen at cool room temperature, shaking the jar every day for 3 to 4 weeks, or until the rinds are tender to the bite. Then store it in the refrigerator.
  4. To use, remove a piece of lemon and rinse it. (Add more fresh lemons to the brine as you use them up.) The minced rind is added at the very end of cooking or used raw; the pulp can be added to a simmering pot.


IMG_0752.JPG
 
Last edited:
Joined
30 Mar 2017
Messages
2,914
Location
Detroit, USA
Website
absolute0cooking.com
I make my own too. They are very addictive! Your photo looks like they are in slices. But I'm assuming thats an optical effect?
Yes...it's an illusion. What you see is the flesh side of two lemon quarters pressed up against the jar. They were jammed in there pretty tightly to begin with, but that changed as the skin started to soften. I didn't notice before, but you can just make out a bay leaf floating near the surface of the murky liquid.

Do you do anything with the liquid? I've only heard that the rind and flesh are used, but I have poured some of the juice into otherwise bland plates, and it's woken them up. :eek:
 

morning glory

Obsessive cook
Staff member
Joined
19 Apr 2015
Messages
29,867
Location
Maidstone, Kent, UK
Yes...it's an illusion. What you see is the flesh side of two lemon quarters pressed up against the jar. They were jammed in there pretty tightly to begin with, but that changed as the skin started to soften. I didn't notice before, but you can just make out a bay leaf floating near the surface of the murky liquid.

Do you do anything with the liquid? I've only heard that the rind and flesh are used, but I have poured some of the juice into otherwise bland plates, and it's woken them up. :eek:
Yes - I do the same!
 
Joined
30 Mar 2017
Messages
2,914
Location
Detroit, USA
Website
absolute0cooking.com
As I continue to dip into the jar to add the awesomeness to various things, I'm amazed by the flavor that preserved lemons have. But, how to describe it?

They aren't like other pickled things, which punch you in the mouth with vinegar or salt (they are salt, but I don't think they're overly so).
And, they aren't tart like they were when they went in the jar.
They also aren't sweet.
So, what are they? And how is it that they seem to go well with just about anything?

The thing they remind me of most is saganaki (shown below), the flaming cheese you get in Greek restaurants. I suspect they wouldn't taste like the cold cheese itself, but saganaki is typically extinguished with...a lemon wedge. This may be why preserved lemon seems to go well with anything: they taste like a tangy cheese. I added some to a slice of leftover pizza yesterday; it was fantastic!

1200px-Saganaki.jpg
 

winterybella

Veteran
Joined
21 Oct 2014
Messages
2,526
Location
Barbados
Prep Time: 672 hours
I don't know why I zoomed in on the time..Maybe because I am always interested in quickies? I guess it's a preserve and requires time and it's not like I have to sit and watch it. It's a shame lemons are so expensive around here and limes just won't be the same. Interesting one to have on hand.
 
Joined
30 Mar 2017
Messages
2,914
Location
Detroit, USA
Website
absolute0cooking.com
I don't know why I zoomed in on the time..Maybe because I am always interested in quickies? I guess it's a preserve and requires time and it's not like I have to sit and watch it. It's a shame lemons are so expensive around here and limes just won't be the same. Interesting one to have on hand.
Now you're giving me an idea that I have to try: preserved limes! I love the use of fresh lime in so many different applications, so this would definitely be a break from what I usually do. It would be different, but I can't imagine it would be so different: both are tart citrus fruits, and both have explosive flavor from their peel. I think I now have to pick up a bag of limes and give it a try. I'll let you know next month how it turned out. :laugh:
 

Lynne Guinne

Senior Member
Joined
23 Mar 2017
Messages
761
Location
New England
If you roam the internet enough, you'll find that most citrus fruits take well to salt preservation. I forgot to try it with a couple of Mineolas this past winter, but I think preserved orange of some sort would be great for chicken dishes.
 

morning glory

Obsessive cook
Staff member
Joined
19 Apr 2015
Messages
29,867
Location
Maidstone, Kent, UK
If you roam the internet enough, you'll find that most citrus fruits take well to salt preservation. I forgot to try it with a couple of Mineolas this past winter, but I think preserved orange of some sort would be great for chicken dishes.
I have thought about this before - preserved oranges could be fantastic! Why aren't they known? Which one of us will be the first to make them?
 
Top Bottom