Preserved lemons are a frequent component of Moroccan cuisine and add a distinct flavor to the dishes to which they are added. Meyer lemons resemble the variety used in Morocco and are the best choice to use for this recipe; if Meyer lemons are not available, choose the thinnest-skinned variety you can find. These will last for months in the refrigerator, so making larger batches should improve efficiency without creating waste.
- Yield: 3.5 pounds
- 5 lbs Meyer Lemons, unwaxed, washed, and dried
- 1.5 cups Kosher Salt
- 8 oz Lemon Juice (preferable from Meyer lemons)
- 4 oz Olive Oil
- Thoroughly wash the lemons and dry them with a clean towel. Wash and sterilize your hands.
- Cut off the ends of the lemons by making a thin slice near the stem and one at the bottom end; discard the ends.
- In order to maximize the surface area exposed to salt, the lemons are sliced into quarters. While holding the lemon standing on end, cut straight down to within ¼ inch of cutting it in half (but don’t cut it in half!). Then turn the lemon over so the side that you were cutting toward is now on top, rotate it 90, and make another cut straight down (again, only to ¼ inch from the end). This will expose the interior of the lemon without separating it.
- Pack the inside of the lemon with some of the salt, and then press the lemon inside a sterilized mason jar.
- Continue steps 3 and 4 until there is no open space left in the jars (except for a ½ inch or so of air on top).
- Once the lemons have been packed with salt and placed in jars, top off the jars with any remaining salt or salt that spilled during the packing procedure; add lemon juice so that the lemons are completely covered.
- Pour a little olive oil on top so that the jars are completely full and no lemon is sticking out of the juice.
- Put the sterilized lid on the canning jar, and secure it tightly. Set the jars aside at room temperature, and allow them to mature for at least 4 weeks (these can be left for months at room temperature the salt will prevent the growth of any bacteria. The only thing that can grow is mold; if mold is seen inside the jar, it means the lemons were not packed properly and should be discarded).
- Once the jars are opened, refrigerate any unused portions and use within a week (it is best to use smaller canning jars so that just what is needed is opened).
- Discard any jars that bulge or crack during the preservation period; this is very rare but could indicate some contamination of the product.