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Preserved Lemons

(Makes a 2 liter jar)

Lemons – 8 to 12 small, thin skinned
Kosher Salt – 1 cup

Lemon Juice – 2 cups, freshly squeezed
Black Peppercorns – 1/2 teaspoon
Bay Leaf – 1
Olive Oil

  • Scrub the lemons under warm running water with a soft bristle brush to remove the wax coating. Cut into quarters, leaving the base attached at the stem end. Gently open each lemon, remove any visible seeds and pack 1 Tablespoon of the Kosher salt against the cut edges of each lemon. Push the lemons back into shape and pack tightly into a 2 liters glass jar that has a clip or tight-fitting lid. Depending on the size of the lemons, you may not need all 12. They should be firmly packed and fill the jar.
  • Add 1 cup of the lemon juice, the peppercorns, bay leaf and remaining Kosher salt to the jar. Fill the jar to the top with the remaining lemon juice. Seal and shake to combine all the ingredients. Leave in a cool, dark place for 6 weeks, inverting the jar each week. (In warm weather, store the jar in the refrigerator.) The liquid will be cloudy initially, but will clear by the fourth week.
  • To test if the lemons are preserved, cut through the center of one of the lemon quarters. If the pith is still white, the lemons are not ready. In this case, re-seal and leave for another week before testing again. The lemons should be soft-skinned and the pith should be the same color as the skin.
  • Once the lemons are preserved, cover the brine with a layer of olive oil. Replace the olive oil each time to remove some of the lemon pieces. Refrigerate after opening.
  • NOTE: Preserved lemons can be stored for up to 6 month in a cool, dark place. Use preserved lemons to flavor couscous, stuffing, tagines and casseroles. Only the rind is used in cooking. Discard the flesh and bitter pith, rinse and finely slice or chop the rind before adding to the dish.

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