Preserved lemons, a Moroccan specialty, are super easy to make, a great pantry staple to spice up many dishes and a wonderful homemade gift. It’s a great way to use excess fruit from a backyard lemon tree; or wait until lemons are in season (and inexpensive) then make a big jar to keep you supplied for ages. Traditionally only the rind is used, with the salty flesh discarded. However, I like to add the flesh to the cavity of a chicken before roasting it. I sometimes toss some finely chopped rind through the simple cabbage & herb salad in the video below too.
Makes 20 pieces
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Preserved lemons have a unique savoury, mildly lemony flavour and a silken texture that can’t be reproduced with fresh lemons or lemon juice.
As long as they are kept covered in their lemony brine, preserved lemons last almost indefinitely. It’s not essential, but I prefer to keep the jar refrigerated once it’s been opened.
As it’s mainly the skin that’s used – larger thick-skinny lemons give the best result. In Morocco fragrant-skinned doqq and tart boussera lemons are used.
Recipes usually say to rinse the lemon rind, but I often don’t and just watch the amount of additional salt I add to the dish. They sometimes have a harmless lacy, white coating on the skin which I do rinse off. Most commonly only the rind of the lemon is used, with the flesh discarded … but I put inside the cavity of a chicken while it’s roasting for a great lemony flavour.
When you finish a jar of preserved lemons, you can reuse the salty, lemony pickling juice two or three times over the course of a year.