Preserved Lemons


Guest Post by Jennifer McGovern, R.D.


I love preserving food: jams, jellies, pickles, you name it. When I read about preserved lemons last year, I jumped at the chance to make some.  It was so easy–just lemons and salt. It made me happy to cram the bright yellow fruit into a jar, accommodating them in my already-overflowing fridge. I had every intention of using them, but stuffed in the corner, the forgotten condiment sat.

When I cleaned out my fridge last month and noticed the yellow beauties staring back at me, I knew I had to use them. Traditionally featured in Moroccan cuisine, preserved lemons also make appearances in Indian, Greek, and Russian dishes. In my quest to eat more plants, I decided to adapt a Moroccan-inspired tagine recipe using only vegetables. More on that later.

First, the preserved lemons. You can buy them in most specialty stores, but they can easily be made at home. The hard part is waiting for them to “cure,” or their peels to soften, which takes about a month. Your patience will be rewarded, however. Preserved lemons add a unique flavor punch to many dishes, from drinks to dessert. Don’t let them sit idly in the refrigerator as I did. They’re delightful in vinaigrettes, dressings, sauces, desserts, and even cocktails. Typically, the pulp is discarded, and only the rind is used, but you can use the entire lemon as well, just make sure to rinse the rind before slicing to remove excess salt.

Here’s my basic recipe, and see below for more ideas on how to make the most of your preserved lemons:

Preserved Lemon Citrus Chicken with Chervil Gremolata from Serious Eats

Preserved Lemon Martini from Eating from the Ground Up

Vietnamese Salty Lemonade from Garden Betty

Israeli Couscous with Butternut Squash and Preserved Lemons from David Leibowitz

Grilled Wild Salmon with Preserved Lemon Relish from Simply Recipes

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