You cannot talk about Moroccan cuisine and not to mention preserved lemons in one of its dishes.
This important ingredient of Moroccan cooking, usually used with chicken, seems to have different origins. Some referred it to Jews who have a slightly different procedure for preserving it, which involves the use of olive oil. Others claimed that the Persians brought the lemon to Greece, and their method is simple: Quarter the lemons, salt, and cover in lemon juice.
The method I’m showing you today is used by my mom. It’s very simple and doesn’t require much time to do.
- 5 lemons
- 4 tablespoons for each lemon
1. Quarter the lemons from the top to within 1/2 inch of the bottom, put salt inside each lemon, and then reshape the fruit.
2. Place 1 tablespoon salt on the bottom of the jar. Pack in the lemons and push them down, adding more salt. Press the lemons down to release their juices and to make room for the remaining lemons. Leave some air space before sealing the jar.
3. Let the lemons ripen in a warm place, shaking the jar each day to distribute the salt and juice. Let ripen for 30 days.
4. To use, rinse the lemons, as needed, under running water, removing and discarding the pulp, if desired — and there is no need to refrigerate after opening. Preserved lemons will keep up to a year, and the pickling juice can be used two or three times over the course of a year.