Reprinted with permission. From The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert, © 2011, Ecco. Photography by Quentin Bacon.
- Total Cooking Time: 30 days to fully cure.
- Servings: Makes 5 preserved lemons.
From The Food of Morocco, by Paula Wolfert:
"The following recipe can be doubled, tripled, or more. Be sure to store your preserved lemons in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.
According to the late distinguished food writer Michael Field, the best way to extract the maximum amount of juice from a lemon is to cook it in a microwave or in boiling water for a short time and then allow it to cool before squeezing. Some cooks suggest using commercial lemon juice to top off their preserved lemons. I only use freshly squeezed lemon juice."
- 5 organic lemons, scrubbed and dried
- About 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- Soften the lemons by rolling them back and forth on a wooden cutting board. Quarter the lemons from their tops to within 1/4 inch of their bottoms, sprinkle salt on the exposed flesh, and then reshape the fruit.
- Pack them into a glass jar, pushing them down and adding more salt between layers. Top off with the lemon juice, but leave some air space before sealing the jar.
- Allow the lemons to ripen in a warm place for 30 days, turning the jar upside down every few days to distribute the salt and juice. if necessary, open the jar and add more lemon juice to keep the lemons covered.
From author Paula Wolfert:
"Pluck out a lemon with a wooden fork or spoon and rinse it under cold running water. Remove and discard the pulp, unless it is called for in the recipe — I generally use only the rind, but in a few recipes, I add the pulp to the marinade.
"Preserved lemons will keep for up to a year in the refrigerator, and the pickling juice can be used one more time over the course of a year; then it should be discarded. The most important thing to remember is that the lemons must be completely covered with salted lemon juice.
"Sometimes you will see a lacy white substance clinging to preserved lemons in their jar. This material is harmless, but it should be rinsed off for aesthetic reasons before the lemons are used. Preserved lemons are always rinsed before use in any case, to rid them of excessive saltiness."