I first discovered preserved lemons a few years ago while shooting a television cooking segment with a well-known Chef in his restaurant kitchen in Chicago. He used them as a garnish on fish but I tried them independently and they were the most delicious taste I’ve ever had in my mouth. He showed a gigantic jar he was preserving for later use and that was at a busy restaurant. So when I went out to buy them I could only find them in specialty stores, sold in small jars and they were expensive. I decided to make my own and discovered that it’s super easy plus I love having preserved lemons on hand any time!
You’ll need a canning jar, kosher salt, and a pile of organic lemons plus some for juicing.
Sterilize the jar in a hot water bath or open for 15 minutes. Wash the lemons and cut almost thru each end of the lemon as if you were cutting it into quarters.
Pour some salt to fill the bottom of the jar.
Pour salt into each cut of the lemon (into both sides).
Drop the lemon to the bottom of the jar and repeat with each lemon until the jar is full. Really smash the lemons into the jar so the juices run out.
Once the jar is full of the lemons with salt, pour more salt over the top and fill the jar with lemon juice.
Securely screw the top of the jar on and turn the upside down a few times to mix the juice and salt. Let the jar sit in a cabinet or shelf for at least one month up to 3 months before using. Every few days turn the jar upside down to distribute the salt and juice. Be sure to refrigerate the lemons after opening.
The bonus of preserved lemons is that you can eat the whole thing; rinds, pulp and all…just get rid of the seeds and rinse off any excess salt. How can you use these in your cooking? Just chop them up and add them to all kinds of your favorite foods! I love to add them to my salads mixed with olive oil instead of dressing. Preserved lemons and fish are best friends forever. You can add them to your favorite tailgate dips like guacamole, salsa, hummus or you can add them to simple pasta dish with garlic, add some chicken and enjoy. Just having this delicious staple in your kitchen is a must!