Preserving Lemons

March 20, 2013

 You know the old saying, "When life gives you lemons, preserve them!"
(it's something like that!)

I've used expensive store bought preserved lemons in a Moroccan recipe before.
I loved them.
 When gifted some beautiful lemons, I thought I'd try it myself.

The recipe is so easy with ingredients I already had on hand:
lemons, kosher salt, coriander and fennel seeds plus a cinnamon stick.

Salt Preserved Lemons

Wash glass canning/pickling jar in very hot water.  Scrub lemons well.  Cut the lemon in half lengthwise almost to the base, do not cut all the way through.  Make another similar cut to divide the lemon into 4 sections.  Pry apart and pack with kosher salt and put in sterilized jar.  Repeat with as many lemons as you can squeeze in, I had to cut a few lemons in half to fill up the sides.  Add spices if you like, fennel seed, coriander seed, cloves, bay leaf, peppercorns and cinnamon stick are good choices.  Pack with more salt, I used a bit less than a cup total, and add freshly squeezed lemon juice to fill all crannies.  Shake and turn up side down occasionally, adding more salt and juice if needed.  The picture below is what it looked like the next day.  Shake daily for about a week.  They are ready in 3 weeks and can be stored for 6 months, unrefrigerated.  To use them, you need just rinse excess salt and they are ready for the recipe.

This is my first try at salt preserved lemons.  I'll let you know what I think of them and what recipes I end up using them in!  And since we're talking lemons, have you ever made Lemon Sugar?  So simple.

Lemon Sugar
The easiest way to preserve that lovely lemon flavor.

Scrub and dry 3 large lemons.  Zest just the bright yellow part.  Add 2 cups sugar and rub through fingers to infuse the zest and lemon oil throughout the sugar.  Sprinkle sugar on baking sheet to dry overnight.  Next morning break up crumbles, I had to give it a quick whirl in the food processor.  Store in clean jars.  We had it on yogurt this morning, nice, and I see lemon cookies in my future.

Helpful links:
Original recipe for preserved lemons here and another one here.
Canning jars here.  I love these, they last forever!
You can purchase preserved lemons already made for you here or here.
Here are several recipes using the preserved lemons, 
and also this recipe from the lovely Barefoot Contessa.
My favorite lemon zester here.

And as for the rain forecast, what a dud.
Here we are in California and it's great with all the sun and the lemons and the surf and all that.
And I am a native, the daughter of a native even, so I looooove this state.  But rain.  We need you.
My husband and I hurried though all our gardening chores today,
expecting rain we were this afternoon.
Sooo, we got some sprinkles tonight, but hardly any.  Just a few sprinks.
I'm feeling thirsty.

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  1. So interesting! And even if it doesn't turn out, they sure look gorgeous in that jar! :-)

    BTW, our spring sale on natural, vegan handcrafted soaps ends tomorrow night. Just a heads up.

  2. Hi Kristen,
    I love the lemon sugar recipe and need to try it. Looks like you have been busy. The Gavotte sweater is beautiful!

  3. Kristen, thank you for such interesting ideas! A long time ago I preserved lemons with honey, but I don't remember recipe any more.

  4. Hey, Kristen! I have never heard of preserved lemons! I really don't have a clue as to what one might use them for, so it will be interesting to see in the future when you post it! Meanwhile, I HAVE heard of lemon sugar! What a great way to sweeten tea and not have to worry about having a fresh lemon in the fridge. (That's for those of us in the Land o' Blah who don't have citrus trees growing in close proximity!) :-)

    I hope you get that much needed rain soon! We've been getting quite a bit this year, but it will still take quite a bit of time to catch up with the drought conditions that have ravaged the plains. Have a good weekend!!!

  5. O interesting!! I will have to try! I was so excited about the rain as well but that's it? We got so little!!


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