I LOVE LEMONS and thank god because I live in an area with a ton of lemon trees, which of course results in my fridge being filled with more lemons than I know what to do with. I use lemons for my water, cocktails, salads, chicken, squeezed on top of lahmajun, hot tea, there are so many dang uses for lemons. I wanted to find a new recipe and I also wanted to start canning. While this isn’t necessary canning, I’am putting the lemons into canning jars and letting them mature for 30 days ha ha ha. I’ve been hearing so much buzz lately on preserved lemons and while I was at a cooking class & book signing the chef decided to throw in a quick tutorial on how to preserve lemons. I was like, whaaaa that’s it, to many mentions of preserved lemons to not start preserving lemons.
So, what exactly does it mean to preserve a lemon? Well, basically what it is is pickling the lemons in their own juice and adding distilled water. The peel is what’s used for sauces, aioli’s, added to chicken and even desserts. If you’re a lemon lover like me, then you are gonna love this recipe not only for the flavor but for how simple it is to make.
Let’s start with organic lemons. You preserve lemons for the peel so it’s a good idea to make sure they are organic or at least lemons you know haven’t been sprayed down with pesticides. Grab salt and distilled water. If you don’t have distilled water you can boil water and just wait for it to reach room temp.
Next you want to cut off a bit from each end of the lemon.
Then you want to cut the lemon crosswise but not all the way through. Leave the bottom of the lemon intact.
Grab your mason jars or any kind of glass jar. I actually have a big box of left over glass jars from pickles, olives and jams that I keep specifically for things like this….plus remember I said, I wanted to start canning. Grab the kosher salt. You want to put a little salt in each jar first.
Then put some salt inside the cavity of each lemon. I used about a teaspoon. Honestly I didn’t measure I just scooped.
So it goes like this, salt first at the bottom of each jar, then a lemon that has salt in the cavity, then you pour more salt on top of the lemon, then add another lemon, then salt, then lemon…..you get where I’m going with this? Make sure to squeeze the juice out of the lemon after you put it in the jar. I just put a spoon on top and pressed down so the juice came out.
Just keep layering until the jar is full. Try to squeeze in as many lemons as humanly possible.
I had a few kumquats on hand so I threw them in too just to add a pop of color.
Then fill up each jar with distilled water. Let the jars sit on the counter until the next day and then seal the jars with lids, write the date on the jar and put them in the fridge for 30 days.
I will post a pic of the preserved lemons and a fabulous recipe in 30 days. In the meantime, if you have a favorite preserved lemon recipe please feel free to share in the comments. The countdown has begun. See you soon.