I first encountered preserved lemon in tajine in Morocco. Lemon, and lime for that matter, happens to be one of my favourite flavours so I was intrigued by the intense, oddly lemony taste from the small bits of lime in almost every tajine we ate. As we travelled the country, I consulted cookbooks and eventually purchased a couple.
Preserving them isn’t a very difficult process. They keep for months and can be stored for years if the are correctly preserved. The pulp of the preserved lemon makes a great addition to soups and stews and Bloody Caesars. The rind is perfect in stir fries, stews, and even added to substantial, main course salads.
Moroccan Preserved Lemons
- 10 thin skinned lemons (don’t tease them, they can’t handle it)
- 480g rock salt
- 1L boiling water
- juice of 1 lemon
- 8 cardamom pods
- 2 small red chillies (optional)
- 2 bay leaves (optional)
- olive oil to cover
Scrub the lemons well and soak them in water for about 3 days, changing the water daily. This will infuse your home with a lovely lemony scent!
Remove from the water and cut four pockets end to end into each lemon. Be careful not to slice right through.
Holding each lemon over a bowl, generously fill the pockets with rock salt, and arrange in a 2L jar (or two 1L jars).
Cover the lemons with boiling water. Add the leftover salt and juice (from the catch bowl), lemon juice, and cardamom pods. Add the chillies and bay leaves, if using, for flavour and decoration.
Leave the jar sit for a few minutes, ensuring most air bubbles are released. Pour in a thin layer of olive oil to cover the surface.
Seal tightly and store for at least one month prior to use. That is a long, long time to wait!