Jump to content


Scheduled Downtime

NOTICE: The eG Forums will be offline for several hours on Friday, November 28 for system maintenance.

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Preserved Lemons


  • Please log in to reply
275 replies to this topic

#1 Suvir Saran

Suvir Saran
  • legacy participant
  • 4,877 posts

Posted 25 July 2002 - 07:14 PM

Do you preserve lemons at home?

What is the best season to do so? Summer?

Do you buy preserved lemons?? What do you use them for?

I have often seen a red thing in some.. what is it?

#2 Brad S

Brad S
  • participating member
  • 510 posts

Posted 25 July 2002 - 07:40 PM

I make my preserved lemons Moroccan style with a safi mixture,really just salt a cinnamon stick,cloves coriander seeds,black peppercorns and bay leaf.

Besides using them in my kettle one martinies :shock: I primarily use them when preparing tagines.as far as the red thing,i'm not sure
Turnip Greens are Better than Nothing. Ask the people who have tried both.

#3 Suvir Saran

Suvir Saran
  • legacy participant
  • 4,877 posts

Posted 25 July 2002 - 08:18 PM

A caped chef,

What is a safi mixture?

The chef that taught me how to preserve these did so only with salt.

I have seen some in the market with a red stuff in the container...

How long do you keep the bottle closed? Do you put the jars in the sun at all?

Have a recipe for the preserved lemons?

#4 Suvir Saran

Suvir Saran
  • legacy participant
  • 4,877 posts

Posted 25 July 2002 - 08:20 PM

A caped chef,

How do you make these preserved lemon Ketel One Martinis?

#5 Brad S

Brad S
  • participating member
  • 510 posts

Posted 25 July 2002 - 08:38 PM

Suvir,

Sorry I wasn't more specific "safi" is a city south of casablanca and north of essaouira,well known for fish and seafood dishes where preserved lemons are prodominent in many dishes.
I 1/4 th lemons without going all the way through,and sprinkle kosher salt on the flesh and the rind,I then put about a tablespoon of salt on the bottom of a mason jar,pack in the lemon and spices pushing down on the fruit to release it's juice to cover the fruit,if the lemon juice is not enough to cover I add some more,then cover,keep in a warm spot for about a month turning everyday and that's it. I always rince the lemon to get rid of all the excess salt before using. As for the kettle one martini,I just make a normal (very dry)martini and add a couple of slices of the cured rind.Love it.
I hope you try it,Suvir,you can also blanch the lemons first to soften the skin before preserving,but I don't
Turnip Greens are Better than Nothing. Ask the people who have tried both.

#6 Suvir Saran

Suvir Saran
  • legacy participant
  • 4,877 posts

Posted 25 July 2002 - 08:48 PM

I will make some over the weekend.
Thanks for the detailed recipe.
I have been making them with just salt.

Yours sounds so much better.

Thanks very much. :smile:

#7 polly

polly
  • participating member
  • 253 posts

Posted 01 August 2002 - 07:36 AM

A method that I just learned, to speed up the process of making preserved lemons, is to freeze the lemons first, then thaw them and proceed with the recipe.
The freezing and thawing breaks down some of the cell structure, softening the lemon rind.
How sad; a house full of condiments and no food.

#8 Suzanne F

Suzanne F
  • legacy participant
  • 7,398 posts
  • Location:NY, NY

Posted 12 September 2002 - 12:05 PM

I did mine with Meyer lemons, half salt, half sugar, no spices. I usually find the all-salt kind too salty and I hate to rinse them. Just cut, pack in jar, add salt and sugar, plus some extra lemon juice to keep them covered.

BTW, I hope CC gets a fee everytime he mentions his favorite brand of vodka! :biggrin:

#9 anil

anil
  • participating member
  • 1,492 posts

Posted 12 September 2002 - 08:41 PM

A caped chef,

What is a safi mixture? 

The chef that taught me how to preserve these did so only with salt. 

I have seen some in the market with a red stuff in the container...

How long do you keep the bottle closed?  Do you put the jars in the sun at all? 

Have a recipe for the preserved lemon

Suvir, as the caped chef mentioned the folks in Safi preserve it differently - i.e adding dal-chinee,jeera,dhaniya-ke-beej etc. But basically you are right - Only salt is used in preserving the lemons.

Re: Kettle One ? Is this a variation to a dirty martini ?
anil

#10 johnjohn

johnjohn
  • participating member
  • 266 posts

Posted 13 September 2002 - 07:50 AM

In cooking - Do you use the pulp or just the rind of a preserved lemon.

johnjohn

#11 Suzanne F

Suzanne F
  • legacy participant
  • 7,398 posts
  • Location:NY, NY

Posted 13 September 2002 - 11:21 AM

Just the rind (zest). And as with fresh lemons, you remove the white part -- the pith.

Who has a recipe for preserved lemonade lemonade? I know there's one out there. This is different from the lime drink (loomi) in another thread.

#12 SethG

SethG
  • participating member
  • 1,676 posts
  • Location:Brooklyn, NY

Posted 27 August 2003 - 07:36 AM

I have a jar of preserved lemons I made several months ago by the Wolfert method, using just salt and lemon juice. I am aware that you can use several different spices with the lemons as well, although I did not.

I just made a dish with the preserved lemons and I thought they tasted great-- pickled, almost candied.

But I've seen some preserved lemons brought back from Morocco and at a local market (Sahadi's in Brooklyn) and those lemons have almost a tan color, and a slightly bloated appearance. Mine, by contrast, remain bright yellow.

What causes this change in color in the purchased lemons? Are mine "wrong" or "inauthentic"? Please advise.
"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;
but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

#13 Wolfert

Wolfert
  • participating member
  • 1,214 posts
  • Location:sonoma

Posted 27 August 2003 - 10:50 AM

Hi Seth:

In Morocco, many types of lemons are put up in salt. Some are used in cooking while others are best in salads.
The mildly aromatic thick-skinned, limun buserra, a yellow, shiny, lemon with a nipple at each end, is similar to our California Eureka lemon. Every winter, I put up a
batch of Eurekas in coarse salt to be used in cooking. They take about a month to ripen. I think this is what you used and I can promise you it is authentic.
The fragrant, thin-skinned lim doqq, the creme de la creme of Moroccan lemons, is similar to the American hybrid Meyer lemon in appearance, but not in aroma or flavor. Both are small lemons with a greenish yellow pulp, very juicy and aromatic. Preserved Meyer lemons can be used to flavor olives, salads and vegetables in brine. Sometimes this lemon turns a bit tan with time. Or with preservatives.
By the way, in the town of Fez, there is yet another sweet lemon called lim lamsayyar. It, too, is thin-skinned and small with a sweet flavor. Fassis (citizens of Fez) consider it the finest lemon in Morocco to preserve. It is also known as "lime," Mediterranean sweet lemon" and "limetta." If you visit Fez you can buy this lemon already preserved in salt in jars. I haven't seen this lemon in a jar in a long time and am wondering if this could be the lemon you saw. Do you have the producer's name? You might have discovered something really special.

Edited by Wolfert, 27 August 2003 - 10:52 AM.

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

#14 SethG

SethG
  • participating member
  • 1,676 posts
  • Location:Brooklyn, NY

Posted 27 August 2003 - 12:03 PM

Thank you for what is surely the authoritative answer to my question!

The next time I'm in Sahadi's, Ill ask them what lemons they are using. The ones I saw there were not canned, but were instead sold individually in the same section of the store as the olives, pepperoncini, and the like. Seems unlikely they were lamsayyars, but I'll let you know if I've really stumbled on a find.
"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;
but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

#15 Adam Balic

Adam Balic
  • participating member
  • 4,882 posts

Posted 28 August 2003 - 02:39 AM

I have come upon a supply of Citron/Cedro. I would like to preserved these, will this work? They are about 20-25 cm long and 10-15 cm wide. The rind is up to an 3 cm thick. As they have very little juice I was going to use lemon juice to top up.

While I am at it, could I use bitter/Seville oranges in this manner? I have been freezing them to use in some Arabic cooking, but my wife is complaining about loosing toes to small oragnge cannonballs shooting out of the freezer.

#16 Episure

Episure
  • participating member
  • 977 posts
  • Location:Bangalore - INDIA

Posted 28 August 2003 - 04:53 AM

But I've seen some preserved lemons brought back from Morocco and at a local market (Sahadi's in Brooklyn) and those lemons have almost a tan color, and a slightly bloated appearance.  Mine, by contrast, remain bright yellow.

What causes this change in color in the purchased lemons?  Are mine "wrong" or "inauthentic"?  Please advise.

We pickle lemons/limes in the same way here in India. To get them to tan , treat them like humans i.e., put them out in the sun. Seriously.
I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja
http://www.gourmetindia.com

#17 SethG

SethG
  • participating member
  • 1,676 posts
  • Location:Brooklyn, NY

Posted 13 October 2003 - 02:05 PM

I finally made it back to Sahadi's today, and I asked the proprietor, Charley, about his preserved lemons. He hasn't had any in stock for a few months, and he doesn't know how they're made. "I wish I could tell you" was his answer to my question about the color. He was able to tell me that he imports them from a supplier in Egypt, and he buys them by the barrel. His supplier seems to have abandoned him, however. Charley said the supplier recently told him he'd be able to get him the lemons in jars, but that this hasn't come through either.

I also want to ask another preserved lemon question. I put up a new jar of the lemons last weekend, this time adding a bay leaf, a cinnamon stick and a few cloves. It's been sitting on my counter, and it looks great. But I'm afraid I'm going to kill my family if I use the lemons, for a few different reasons.

1. The lemon at the top of the jar kept popping up above the juice. For several days, I kept opening the jar, pushing the lemon down, and adding more salt and lemon juice to the jar. Then I'd shake the jar the next day and up would pop this lemon again! I don't think it's popped up in a couple days now, but I've probably opened the jar at least four or five times since I filled it. I don't think the lemon ever spent a lot of time above the juice; it's the repeated opening and closing of the jar I'm really concerned about.

2. I sterilized the jar by running it through the dishwasher. At the time, I thought this was enough, since the environment inside the jar is so acidic and salty. I didn't think there was much risk of botulism in such an environment. But now I'm worried I should have sterilized better, as if I were making preserves. (I sterilized in the same fashion last time, by the way. But I chickened out after several days with that jar and stuck it in the fridge for the better part of the last year. This time, I want to leave it on the counter as instructed.)

Can anyone put my mind at ease? Or should I pitch the jar and start over?

And anyone who knows can answer, by the way. I'm sure Paula didn't join eGullet to give me private lessons!
"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;
but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

#18 Mottmott

Mottmott
  • participating member
  • 1,303 posts

Posted 13 October 2003 - 05:57 PM

I can't answer as to whether your lemons are safe, but I can give you a tip about keeping them in the brine when you make them. Just weight them down with a glass or ceramic plate, ramekin, etc. just small enough to get through the opening of the jar you are preserving them in. I use the same trick when cooking artichokes to keep them from bobbing up.
"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

#19 lamington

lamington
  • participating member
  • 297 posts
  • Location:Melbourne, Australia

Posted 13 October 2003 - 07:03 PM

I just recently preserved lemons for the first time, and found it interesting that very many of the recipes/instructions I looked at (5+) didn't mention sterilisation at all! According to info from the WHO, CDC and USDA, botulism does not survive in acidic environments. This is probably why many commercial crushed-garlic preparations contain a lot of vinegar.

If in doubt, only use the lemons if you can boil them (eg, in the food you're cookng) for at least 10 mins at 100C.
-- lamington a.k.a. Duncan Markham
The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - collaborative book reviews about all things food and wine
Syrup & Tang - candid commentary and flavourful fancies

"It's healthy. It's cake. It's chocolate cake."

#20 Suzanne F

Suzanne F
  • legacy participant
  • 7,398 posts
  • Location:NY, NY

Posted 13 October 2003 - 08:29 PM

I made a large jar of Meyer lemons a little less than 2 years ago. They kept popping up, too. So I weighted them down with a heavy-duty plastic bag filled with water. Once they were well-infused with the brine, they sank on their own.

Along the same lines, as Mottmott discussed, I use a cloth napkin on my artichokes. Learned that at work. Then I throw it in the wash with a hint of bleach, and it's good for the next time. (Cloth napkins are also excellent for straining liquids like tomato water, instead of using a dozen layers of cheesecloth.)

#21 Bicycle Lee

Bicycle Lee
  • participating member
  • 646 posts

Posted 14 October 2003 - 08:06 PM

I just made some of these as well...using J. Peterson's method....just immersing lemons in salt...
the ones that had flesh showing turned tan, but the ones that remained submerged were yellow...
I also segregated some and added rosemary sprigs into the salt with the lemons....but it was overpowered by the citrus...
"Make me some mignardises, &*%$@!" -Mateo

#22 Mottmott

Mottmott
  • participating member
  • 1,303 posts

Posted 15 October 2003 - 06:15 AM

I made a large jar of Meyer lemons a little less than 2 years ago.  They kept popping up, too.  So I weighted them down with a heavy-duty plastic bag filled with water.  Once they were well-infused with the brine, they sank on their own.

Along the same lines, as Mottmott discussed, I use a cloth napkin on my artichokes.  Learned that at work.  Then I throw it in the wash with a hint of bleach, and it's good for the next time.  (Cloth napkins are also excellent for straining liquids like tomato water, instead of using a dozen layers of cheesecloth.)

Your napkin idea is brilliant, but I'll give it a twist and use a terry wash cloth. I've discoved Value City has thin terry washcloths for about $4 for a dozen and a half. I've bought 3 batches so far and will get more next time I'm near there. (I also like keeping those really thin "floursack towels" in the kitchen.)

They're in little stashes around the house for the kids. I find that I sometimes use one as I might use a paper towel: one use then toss it in the washing machine instead of the trash. It's handy not just to clean a grubby face but also to lift a pot lid.
"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

#23 Mottmott

Mottmott
  • participating member
  • 1,303 posts

Posted 15 October 2003 - 06:30 AM

I made a large jar of Meyer lemons a little less than 2 years ago.  They kept popping up, too.  So I weighted them down with a heavy-duty plastic bag filled with water.  Once they were well-infused with the brine, they sank on their own.

Along the same lines, as Mottmott discussed, I use a cloth napkin on my artichokes.  Learned that at work.  Then I throw it in the wash with a hint of bleach, and it's good for the next time.  (Cloth napkins are also excellent for straining liquids like tomato water, instead of using a dozen layers of cheesecloth.)

Your napkin idea is brilliant, but I'll give it a twist and use a terry wash cloth. I've discoved Value City has thin terry washcloths for about $4 for a dozen and a half. I've bought 3 batches so far and will get more next time I'm near there. (I also like keeping those really thin "floursack towels" in the kitchen.)

They're in little stashes around the house for the kids. I find that I sometimes use one as I might use a paper towel: one use then toss it in the washing machine instead of the trash. It's handy not just to clean a grubby face but also to lift a pot lid.
"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

#24 fifi

fifi
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 7,727 posts
  • Location:Houston, TX

Posted 24 January 2004 - 03:53 PM

On the When life hands you lemons... thread and the Seville Oranges thread, the topic of preserved citrus came up. I typically keep a glass lidded jar of preserved lemons in my fridge. I have a new batch started just now. I use the salt and lemon juice method from Patricia Wells' At Home in Provence.

I want to explore other methods and the results as well as some of your uses of preserved lemons.

Then I want to step outside of the box and see what other citrus would lend itself to preserving. And an even better question might be, what would you do with THAT?

Yesterday, my local grocery had bags of Key Limes on sale. These are actually the little suckers that come from Mexico and are called limons there. I scrubbed them up, cut them into eighths just like the lemon recipe I use, juiced the rest of them, and put them down with salt in a glass lidded jar. If they behave like the lemons, it will probably take about a month for them to "finish", or it may take less time since the slices are so much smaller.

If I find some Seville oranges I may try them, too.

Then there is the "orange tree" on the power line easement that my sister found a couple of years ago. Actually, these things look like an orange key lime. I have seen something like them once on an Emeril special in Hawaii and they called them "Hawaiian limes". I have no idea if they are the same thing. They just looked alike. They are very tart, seedy and have a strong orangy flavor. They made dynamite marmalade. We have no idea what they actually are and even less of a clue as to what that tree is doing growing in that easement. We may go check it out tomorrow. If we do I will get some pictures and finally figure out how to post those here.

Let us proceed...
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#25 rgruby

rgruby
  • participating member
  • 687 posts

Posted 25 January 2004 - 11:10 AM

I would think that differing levels of acidity in various citrus fruits (as well as their sizes) might affect how long they take to "ripen", but I don't see any reason why you couldn't preserve other citrus fruits. Go for it!

Slightly off topic, the last batch I did, a couple of the lemons were not fully submerged in the juice. (I noticed this after they'd been in the fridge for a few weeks). I have not eaten any of this batch for fear that doing so might kill me. Anyone think they'll still be ok - maybe if I cut off the bits that are exposed to air? If there was botulism in the parts exposed to air, could it make its way into the flesh that was submerged? Should I just go and make another batch, dump this one and quit worrying?

Cheers,
Geoff Ruby

#26 Mayhaw Man

Mayhaw Man
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,856 posts
  • Location:Raleigh, NC

Posted 25 January 2004 - 11:16 AM

Then there is the "orange tree" on the power line easement that my sister found a couple of years ago. Actually, these things look like an orange key lime. I have seen something like them once on an Emeril special in Hawaii and they called them "Hawaiian limes". I have no idea if they are the same thing. They just looked alike. They are very tart, seedy and have a strong orangy flavor. They made dynamite marmalade. We have no idea what they actually are and even less of a clue as to what that tree is doing growing in that easement. We may go check it out tomorrow. If we do I will get some pictures and finally figure out how to post those here.

Let us proceed...

Fifi,

Do they look like this? I have several of these and have never done much with them besides eat them off of the tree and use them for garnishes in drinks and on plates as they are VERY tart, but pretty delicious.
Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

#27 cdh

cdh
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,231 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia area

Posted 25 January 2004 - 11:30 AM

In recent citrus hunting, I found myself in possession of a handful of Limequats (xbreed of lime and kumquat, apparently)... and the thought of making candied citrus came to mind... yummy. Make sugar syrup, cook it to about 240F, drop in halved limequats, and allow to boil for a little while and cool.
Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

----- De Gustibus Non Disputandum Est

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

#28 fifi

fifi
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 7,727 posts
  • Location:Houston, TX

Posted 25 January 2004 - 09:54 PM

Brooks, that looks close. We made an excursion today and raided the tree. Good thing. If we had waited any longer, they would have been too ripe. I took some pictures for the purpose of posting them here and maybe finding someone at A&M that might be of help. I would post them now but I am too tired at this point. We had to process a styrofoam cooler full of the little bastards because they wouldn't wait. We put up three pints in juice and salt using the Patricia Wells method. Then deseeded and juiced the rest for marmalade and whatever else we might think of. They are very sour, at least lemon/lime sour and VERY aromatic. They scream ORANGE with an overtone of tangerine maybe. That could be transferrence on my part because the skin structure reminds me of tangerine. The skin is thin with very little pith and loosely attached to the flesh, but not "baggy" like the skin of a tangerine. If you peel one, the little sections remind you of a tangerine. This is a volunteer tree on an easement and it is BIG so it must be freeze resistant. There is nothing in its vicinity that would suggest a local microclimate.

Now that I have figured out that I can set my camera to "eGullet size" I will also snap pictures of my lemons and key limes and post those, too.

cdh... What the heck is a limequat and where did you find it? I never heard of such a thing.

rgruby... With that much acid and salt, botulism is not a problem. There are some methods that cure lemons with a more dry method. I don't know much about that. Maybe Paula Wolfert will stop by and enlighten us.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#29 cdh

cdh
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,231 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia area

Posted 25 January 2004 - 10:18 PM

Limequats are little tiny lime shaped things that you could, if you wanted to, eat whole like a kumquat. They're pretty tart, with just a hint of bitterness. I love candied citrus, and these things seemed like an ideal candidate for the process.

As to where they're from, I got them in the exotic fruit aisle of the Wegmans in Allentown, PA. Central Market has expanded to Houston, no? They'd be your best shot at getting some that I can think of.
Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

----- De Gustibus Non Disputandum Est

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

#30 fifi

fifi
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 7,727 posts
  • Location:Houston, TX

Posted 25 January 2004 - 10:40 PM

Our Central Market is "inside the loop" but I was going to make an excursion there to look for Seville oranges. I was going to do that today but we spent too much time raiding the mystery orange tree. I will look for them. I may also try Fiesta. :biggrin:

One thing we did with the mystery oranges last year was make flavored vodka. Limequats might be good that way too.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose