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 is 2 ingredients, a mason jar and a little time 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!
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 30 days in order to soften and become “preserved”.
The flavor that comes from a preserved lemon is quite different from your typical “squeeze” of lemon. The oils from the peel marinate in the salt and after a bit of time, creates an intense, rich lemon flavor than you can’t get from fresh lemons. They are perfect in salty dishes that call for lemons as the base flavor.
Why should you make preserved lemons?
They are versatile, easy to make and last for a very long time in the fridge. Once you take a few minutes to make a jar, you will always have lemons on hand when a recipe calls for them!
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. Once you’re done … 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 on the counter-top and give it a good shake once a day for the next 30 days.
Tips for using Preserved Lemons:
- The entire preserved lemon is used in recipes … the peel, rind, seeds and juices. The preserving process makes them soft and removes the bitterness of the rind.
- You can use preserved lemons in recipes that call for lemon by rinsing the salt off and cutting them up.
- I like to take half of my preserved lemons and puree them. To puree the lemons, place them and the juice into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. The oils in the lemon peels will help to make the mixture nice and thick. I use the pureed lemons in dressings and marinades.
- Preserved lemons are to be used in savory dishes. NOT sweet dishes!
- 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!
- Store covered in the fridge. They will keep for months!
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.)
- 1/4 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.
- Quarter 3 lemons, leaving 1/2 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. 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 remaining lemons to make sure that the lemon juice covers the fruit and leave about a 1 inch headspace at the top of the jar. Seal the jar. Wipe the outside of the jar to clean off any liquid and salt.
- 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.