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Preserved Lemons


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#151 Bill Miller

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 12:24 PM

The new Central Market cookbook has a recipe for a Mediterranean salsa that contains tomatoes, capers, kalamata olives among other things. I added a diced preserved lemon and it was even better!

It also contains chopped red onion, garlic, fresh oregano, balsamic, evoo, and salt and pepper. Add toasted pine nutsand crumbled feta just before serving.

Edited by Bill Miller, 14 December 2005 - 10:09 AM.

Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

#152 Wolfert

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 01:53 PM

The new Central Market cookbook has a recipe for a Mediterranean salsa that contains tomatoes, capers, kalamata olives among other things.  I added a diced preserved lemon and it was even better!

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That is a beautiful combination. What did you serve it with?


You might be interested to know there is similar Tunisian salsa called sauce Kerkennaise. It is served with grilled octopus or shrimp.
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#153 Kim D

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 02:00 PM

With preserved lemons, the prize is the skin, right? Wouldn't thin-skinned Meyers lemons be less than ideal? Does their sweetness seem odd to someone used to traditional preserved lemons?

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Actually, the fragrant, thin-skinned Meyer lemon can substitute for the lim doqq lemon, the creme de la creme of Moroccan lemons destined for the salt pot. The taste isn't a perfect match but it's close enough. When using them, add at the end of a dish to avoid falling into shreds
.

The thick-skinned lemon called limun buserra is similar to the Californian Eureka and after curing you can use it in a tagine without it falling apart..

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That is very good to know!

- Kim
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#154 Bill Miller

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 10:11 AM

The new Central Market cookbook has a recipe for a Mediterranean salsa that contains tomatoes, capers, kalamata olives among other things.  I added a diced preserved lemon and it was even better!

View Post




That is a beautiful combination. What did you serve it with?


You might be interested to know there is similar Tunisian salsa called sauce Kerkennaise. It is served with grilled octopus or shrimp.

View Post

I finished the ingredient list in the original post. Serve with pita chips or toss with pasta and serve as a main dish.
Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

#155 Kim D

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 12:08 PM

Anyway, I was wondering why the 30 day lemons are good for a year and the 7 day are only good for a week. The biggest difference in the recipes (other than the ratio of salt to lemon) is that the 7 day lemons are cut into 8 pieces while the 30 day lemons are kept in one piece - albeit they are quartered by cutting do

I think I am responsible for promoting the '5 day preserved lemon." See page 33 in my book, Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco, 1973. Please allow me to explain: The quickie method requires cooking of the lemons rather than slow curing. These lemons would rot if left around any longer than 1 to 2 days.

Making a big jar of preserved lemons with a 30 day cure allows you to have lemons for a long time. And, the lemons just get better with time.

The lemons are more attractive and more useful in Moroccan recipes if partially quartered rather than cut into eighths. Either way, you need to salt for 30 days
-snip-

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The more I read, the more I get confused. :blink:

The 7 day recipe on page 303 of The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen does not call for cooking the lemons. It calls for salt, lemons, lemon juice, a half pint jar and room temperature. Is there a step missing for cooking the lemons? If not, what is it that makes these lemons cure in 7 days instead of 30?

I found a recipe* for Preserved Lemons that says to "pour in enough boiling water to cover lemons" and then leave the lemons (a mixture of doqq and boussera) for at least 3 weeks before using them. "The lemons will keep in this mixture indefinitely if stored in a dry place.".

What does the boiling water do? Alton Brown, are you there? :raz:

My degree is in engineering, not chemistry so I don't understand what it is about cooking the lemons that would make them rot while pouring boiling water over them would not cause them to rot.

Rober Carrier did have an explanation for why you should not use your fingers to extract a lemon. "Never touch preserved lemons in the jar with an oily or greasy spoon, as fat will spoil the pickling mixture." He goes on to say "Don't worry if a white film forms on preserved lemons in the jar; just rinse it off before using lemons.".

That being said, I'm making the 30 day recipe. As written on page 303 of the Slow Mediterranean Kitchen. :cool:

* Taste of Morocco by Robert Carrier 1987 page 64
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#156 Bill Miller

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 01:22 PM

I add no water, hot or otherwise. Lemonjuice comes from mashing them with the salt over a period of days--it will finally cover the lemons--I just believe it takes 30 days including a week of mashing down.
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#157 lamington

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 11:05 PM

On occasion, my preserved lemons discolour during the curing process/storage - is this a common occurrence? (I'm afraid I'm chromatically challenged :hmmm: so the exact colour escapes me, but it didn't look yellow - darker... useless description, sorry).
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#158 Bill Miller

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 08:24 AM

On occasion, my preserved lemons discolour during the curing process/storage - is this a common occurrence? (I'm afraid I'm chromatically challenged :hmmm: so the exact colour escapes me, but it didn't look yellow - darker... useless description, sorry).

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No problem, as long as the smell and taste is ok.

Edited by Bill Miller, 21 December 2005 - 08:24 AM.

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#159 lamington

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 01:13 AM

No problem, as long as the smell and taste is ok.

Thanks! I've always cooked the a** out of the discoloured ones to make sure they wouldn't kill anyone:) Now I can rest easy.
-- lamington a.k.a. Duncan Markham
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#160 Jmahl

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 11:12 AM

Now I am totally convinced that I never had an original thought in my life. Some friends brought me a bag of lemons from Arizona and I considered trying to preserving them. I found Ms. Wolfert's receipe on Epicurious.com and they went into the jar today. Here is the result.

Posted Image

Then I sat down to look for a thread on preserved lemons and what do I find? A thread with responses from the author. What can be said?

I will report back on the results in a month.
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#161 Jmahl

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 05:33 PM

Well the month is up so last night we cooked up Djadja Zetoon (Moraccan-Style Lemon Chicken with Olives). The preserved lemons came out great - watch the salt.

Try making them when lemons are cheap. Its worth it.

Good eating,

Jmahl
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#162 angrykoala

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 07:54 PM

They're great, indeed!

Try mincing the peals, and sprinkling them atop a ceasar salad. Also wonderful in couscous, and minced then frozen, and used as a garnish for all manners of tataki (esp. tuna)

#163 Pitter

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 08:15 AM

Preserved lemons are my "secret ingredient" in many of my preparations -- bean soups of all kinds, salsas, stews (lamb, chicken, even beef) and egg based sauces, especially for fish. It pulls together the elements in the same manner as anchovies, plain salt, acids, fish sauce. No wonder -- it is salt and acid combined, but much more complex, with a haunting flavor.

So here's my problem: I bought from my distributor a huge jar of these, as I knew they were as good as I could make myself, and they were very inexpensive. I left the jar out too long at room temp, and the top developed mold. I peeled it off, and decided it was harmless in the same way that mold on olives, while unsightly, is perfectly fine. Their flavor has not been compromised. I remember reading that Ms. Wolfert keeps her olives at room temperature, that they get moldy, and that she prefers them this way. Are my lemons still SAFE? I don't want to poison anyone! And, if they are still edible, can I try the water-in-the-bag trick to keep them submerged, and then store them at room temperature? I'm a bit short on refrigeration space.

#164 Jmahl

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 02:02 PM

Without any basis in fact - try adding more salt and lemon juice -- nothing should be able to live in that.

Good lemons,

Jmahl
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#165 andiesenji

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 04:39 PM

I rinse one well, separate it into sections and toss it in with a batch of onions to be caramellized. It adds a piquancy to the end result I have not been able to duplicate with anything else.
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#166 Smithy

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 06:56 AM

I wish I could answer the "safe" question. I hope someone else does. Mold, eh? My guess is that it's the standard citrus mold that ultimately wrecks the flavor and rots any (fresh) citrus - harmless based on my experience - but I don't know that my guess is correct.

I like to chop up bits of preserved lemon peel and add it to my 3-bean salad (which is generally more of a 5- or 6-bean salad), and use some of the pulp in the dressing. Bits of preserved lemon chopped up and added to pilaf, or to the pan sauce built around sauteed chicken, are other favorite uses. I love the idea posted just above about adding to onions for caramelizing!

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#167 Wolfert

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 09:36 AM

Preserved lemons are my "secret ingredient" in many of my preparations -- bean soups of all kinds, salsas, stews (lamb, chicken, even beef) and egg based sauces, especially for fish.  It pulls together the elements in the same manner as anchovies, plain salt, acids, fish sauce.  No wonder -- it is salt and acid combined, but much more complex, with a haunting flavor.

So here's my problem:  I bought from my distributor a huge jar of these, as I knew they were as good as I could make myself, and they were very inexpensive.  I left the jar out too long at room temp, and the top developed mold.  I peeled it off, and decided it was harmless in the same way that mold on olives, while unsightly, is perfectly fine.  Their flavor has not been compromised.  I remember reading that Ms. Wolfert keeps her olives at room temperature, that they get moldy, and that she prefers them this way.  Are my lemons still SAFE?  I don't want to poison anyone!  And, if they are still edible, can I try the water-in-the-bag trick to keep them submerged, and then store them at room temperature?  I'm a bit short on refrigeration space.

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I don't remember saying that I like my olives moldy, but we can get to that in another forum.

Preserved lemons are always left out in Morocco.

If you are worried I would put them in the fridge to stop the process of developing mold.
Another thing you might do: submerge the whole lemons in clean water and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and use them right away.
“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

#168 dockhl

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 02:31 PM

I've made Preserved Lemons in the past (yum) but just got a bunch of delicious, juicy oranges from a friend's tree..................

Has anyone out there preserve4d oranges in the same way? I love the thought of spicy (cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, peppercorns, bay) and salty with the naturaul sweetness of the orange. Any suggestions?

#169 andiesenji

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 08:23 PM

I have tried it with bitter oranges - the ones that grow on trees that have grown back after the grafted stock has been killed by frost and with Seville oranges and some little sour oranges I found at the middle eastern market a few years ago - I don't remember what they were called.
They were okay, quite different from preserved lemons, but nicely aromatic.
I suggest you ask Paula Wolfert, send her a PM, if anyone would know, she would.
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#170 Kouign Aman

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 12:18 PM

Does it matter if you use Eureka or Myer lemons to preserve?
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#171 dockhl

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 01:35 PM

Does it matter if you use Eureka or Myer lemons to preserve?

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I've used Eurekas but I'll bet Meyers would be lovely.

I put up a jar of oranges yesterday with a cinnamon stick, coriander, black pepper, and a bay leaf........(I think that is all !). I can't wait ! Oh, and I stuck a lime in there, too..... :smile:

#172 lperry

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 03:16 PM

Meyers are fantastic. I did a two liter jar last year and the remainders are now in my refrigerator. (There was a long thread somewhere about the refrigeration issue, so I erred on the side of caution.)

-L

#173 dockhl

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 07:14 PM

Meyers are fantastic.  I did a two liter jar last year and the remainders are now in my refrigerator.  (There was a long thread somewhere about the refrigeration issue, so I erred on the side of caution.)

-L

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I was wondering about that...

#174 shelly59

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 03:04 PM

Add my name to the list of preserved lemon converts. :wub: I have a jar of mixed Myers & Eurekas in my fridge ( They are about 45 days old) and use them in my tuna salad, in my pesto and in a little quickie veggie dip of yogurt (Greek-style) curry powder, black olives minced and preserved lemon diced finely.

MY question is this: How do I properly maintain my lemons? Do I add one for each one taken out? Do I add more lemon juice and salt? Just more lemon juice? I would like to keep a supply on hand at all times as they really are versatile..

#175 dockhl

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 06:38 PM

Here's a new question.

I've made several batches of lemons, wonderful, delicious.

The lemon juice/salt brine gets really thick over time. Since they came out fine I am assuming that's OK but I've never read anything from anyone else about this happening.

Any input? :huh:

Kathy (who loves to eat them straight from the jar, in small quanitites :wacko: )

#176 Smithy

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 08:43 PM

Add my name to the list of preserved lemon converts.  :wub: I have a jar of mixed Myers & Eurekas in my fridge ( They are about 45 days old) and use them in my tuna salad, in my pesto and in a little quickie veggie dip of yogurt (Greek-style) curry powder, black olives minced and preserved lemon diced finely.

MY question is this: How do I properly maintain my lemons? Do I add one for each one taken out? Do I add more lemon juice and salt? Just more lemon juice? I would like to keep a supply on hand at all times as they really are versatile..

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Here's a new question.

I've made several batches of lemons, wonderful, delicious.

The lemon juice/salt brine gets really thick over time. Since they came out fine I am assuming that's OK but I've never read anything from anyone else about this happening.

Any input?  :huh:

Kathy (who loves to eat them straight from the jar, in small quanitites  :wacko: )

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How convenient that your posts are in sequence!

Kathy, I get exactly the same results: the brine gets really thick with time. I figure it's just a natural effect of the brining process, and that juices continue to concentrate with a certain amount of evaporation out of my jar, just due to opening and removing lemons and closing it. No, I've never noticed a problem. I can't imagine why there would be a problem, from a health standpoint. The salt is getting more concentrated.

shelly59, because of the issue above, I don't try to replenish my batches. I think I've read of ways to do that, but my brine always concentrates down to a syrup long before the lemons are gone. I just start a new batch when I'm getting down to the bottom of the old batch. You can see how fast you're going through the stuff, so you should be able to figure how far in advance to start your fresh batch.

It's great to see new interest in this topic!

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#177 dockhl

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 09:23 PM

Kathy, I get exactly the same results:  the brine gets really thick with time.  I figure it's just a natural effect of the brining process, and that juices continue to concentrate with a certain amount of evaporation out of my jar, just due to opening and removing lemons and closing it.  No, I've never noticed a problem.  I can't imagine why there would be a problem, from a health standpoint.  The salt is getting more concentrated.



Whew! I feel better now :laugh:

I replenish mine by pulling out the old (preserved) and washing the jar, putting new lemons, salt juice in the bottom and topping with the old again. Top off with more juice. Always have some ready and available :smile:

#178 Chris Amirault

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 12:13 PM

My batch (quartered, salted, extra lemon juice to cover) has spent six weeks curing so I'm going to try them out tonight with a Claudia Roden chicken dish (djaj mqualli) from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. What other uses have you found for them?
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#179 dockhl

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 12:27 PM

Chris~
I LOVE the Ming Tsai's Polenta with Preserved Lemons and Ginger. I make it a lot :raz:

But I also like chopping it really fine and tossing it with some browned butter on asparagus :wub:

(and sometimes just nibbling on it....)

#180 Susie Q

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 10:57 AM

I've got a question.

I made a jar of preserved lemons last year and they were so good. I wanted to take advantage of my trees and make bigger batches. I sterilized two bigger fliptop/rubber gasket jars. This time I cut the lemons in quarters, salted them down with kosher salt and topped them off with extra juice, to one jar I also added corriander, pepper corns, bay, and cinnamon.....

...both jars are the gassiest things. The jars are really burping and I'm seeing little bubbles. Are they safe?

Off topic but also seeing the same thing... I also made some pickled turnips. Two jars. One with just salt, water, and beet root. The other I added vinegar to the solution to also try the variation. They are off gassing too. Are these safe?

I also sterilized these jars before using them. The recipe didn't call for boiling the pickling solution nor putting them in a hot water bath. It said to just leave them on the counter for a couple of weeks then store in the icebox.

I burped all the jars a few times as I didn't want them to possibly explode. I've had a jar of sourdough starter do that.


I'd sure appreciate some help.