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There isn’t much gardening going on in February, yet the anticipation for the first signs of spring are just around the corner. Today I am preparing one of my favorite ingredients for cooking and that is preserved lemons. It’s surprisingly easy to preserve lemons. After a few attempts at getting the method down, I have landed on a solid technique for perfect preserved lemons.
Meyer lemons are my number one choice. I would not even consider making this recipe without them. They have a softer more delicate flavor and less acidity than your standard variety.
Preserved Lemon Recipe:
7 small Meyer lemons
5 large standard lemons
1 cup kosher salt
Cut each Meyer lemon in half, then cut each lemon half in half but leaving the stem attached at the base. This will allow the lemons to fit better in the curing jar. Coat the cut ends of the lemon halves with lots of salt. Place two tablespoons of salt in the bottom of the jar and start layering the lemon halves in cut side down. The lemon halves will stack very well.
Juice the standard lemons which should be enough to cover the lemons. I prefer to dissolve as much salt into the lemon juice as possible. The trick to keeping your lemons from fermenting is lots of salt. Trust me; you do not want your lemons to ferment. Here we are trying to create a preserved lemon with a briny flavor and a floral aroma, not something sour.
Pour in the salted lemon juice to cover. The lemons may float because of the salt, but after a week they should behave and stay submerged in the liquid. Press down lemons to release any trapped air.
If lemons do peek out of the liquid, cover with more salt and close the jar. Store the jar in cool dark place for one month. After a month the lemons are ready to use. I like to store the finished lemons in the refrigerator. They will last for up to a year. Do you have a favorite recipe that uses preserved lemons?