If you ever do-or want to do-any Middle Eastern cooking, you will probably need Preserved Lemons. Sure you can buy a jar, but they are so easy to make, why wouldn’t you. Even if you don’t cook ethnic food, a bit of chopped up preserved lemon will brighten salad dressings, salsa, pasta dishes, lamb and chicken dishes. It’s absurdly easy to make-all you need are lemons (Meyer, if you can get them), kosher salt and a very clean glass jar with a lid. Here’s how:
1) Put 2 tablespoons of kosher salt (you’ll need about 1 cup of kosher salt total) at the bottom of your glass jar.
2) Wash the lemons (you’ll need as many as can be squeeeezed into the jar).
3) Cut the tip off each lemon so you can just see the flesh inside.
4) With that cut side up, make two cross cuts in the lemon, as if you are cutting it into quarters, but don’t go all the way through to the bottom.
5) Tease open the lemon (but don’t break it apart) and heavily salt it inside and out.
6) Put the salted lemons in the jar and press them to fit. Pretend you are trying to zip up a pair of jeans from high school. Pack those lemons in there. Yes, the juiced will squeeze out.
7) Make sure the lemons are covered with juice (add the juice of a few more lemons, if needed) and put about another 2 tablespoons of salt on top. Make sure the lemons fit in the jar tightly and there are no floaters.
8) Close the jar lid and let sit out on the counter for a few days, occasionally turning the jar upside down.
9) After 3 days, refrigerate the jar for 3 weeks or until the rinds soften. Flip the jar occasionally in the fridge too.
To use the lemons, rinse off the lemon, remove the pulp(flesh) and use the rind only, thinly slicing or finely chopping it.
You can also add spices to the salt during preservations such as cardamom, vanilla bean , whole cloves, coriander seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, peppercorns, etc.
Preserved lemons will keep, refrigerated for a year or more.