Learn how to make preserved lemons that can be used to add intense lemon flavor to dressings, hummus, tapenades, meats and more!
All you need are 2 ingredients, a jar and about 3 weeks to make preserved lemons!
Preserving lemons is one of the best ways to guarantee that you will have lemons on hand at any time of the year.
They are versatile, easy to make and last for a very long time in the fridge.
Lemons are readily available year round but sometimes they can be a little expensive. When they are on sale, it's the perfect time to buy up a few bags and make preserved lemons.
Once you take a few minutes to make a jar, you will always have lemons on hand when a recipe calls for them!
What are preserved lemons?
Preserved lemons are lemons that have been cut into quarters, rubbed with salt and packed tightly into a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
The lemons are allowed to sit at room temperature for about 21 days in order to soften and become "preserved".
The preserving process makes them soft and removes the bitterness of the rind.
The oils from the peel marinate in the salt and after a bit of time, creates an intense, rich lemon flavor that you can't get from fresh lemons.
They are perfect to use in salty dishes that call for lemons as the base flavor. It's best to rinse the salt off before using.
How to make preserved lemons
- Cut each lemon into quarters and sprinkle the inside flesh with salt. Pack the cut and salted lemons into a mason jar.
- Every time you add a lemon to the jar ... press down with your hand to help release the juice of the lemons. The juice should cover the lemons.
- Leave about a one inch headspace at the top of the jar and cover the jar tightly with a lid.
- Place the jar on the counter-top and give it a good shake once a day for the next 21 days. After the 21 days, they are ready to use. Now it's time to keep them stored in the fridge. They will last for months!
I like to take half of the lemons and puree them into a paste which makes them easy to incorporate into sauces.
Place the preserved lemons and a small amount of the preserving liquid into a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
The oils in the lemon peels will help to make the mixture nice and thick. Use this paste in dressings and marinades but be sure to taste for salt before adding any extra.
Try preserved lemons in this Greek Chicken Marinade.
- 5 large lemons (washed and dried (Only 3 lemons will fit into a pint size jar. you will use the juice of the remaining 2 lemons to ensure the fruit is covered completely.))
- ¼ cup sea salt
- You'll need a sterile (pint size mason jar with a lid or some type of container with a tight fitting lid.)
- Cut 3 lemons into quarters, leaving ½ inch from the bottom intact. Sprinkle salt to cover the inside of the lemon. Press the lemon back together.
- Sprinkle the bottom of a pint size mason jar with salt. Pack the lemons tightly into the jar, making sure to sprinkle more salt between each lemon. Press the lemons down to release their juices. Use the juice of the remaining lemons to cover the fruit in the jar completely. Leave about a 1 inch headspace at the top of the jar. Seal the jar.
- Leave the jar in a warm place, shaking the jar everyday to help distribute the salt and the juice. Repeat this everyday for 30 days. Store in the fridge after 30 days.