• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Suvir Saran

Preserved Lemons

290 posts in this topic

I just finished packing a jar of six lemons for the 30 day cure. Looking forward to using it in some of Paula Wolfert's recipes for chicken or lamb with Lemon and olives. I had the same concern over the lemons floating up in the lemon juice (added the juice of five aditional lemons). So great that all this info was here.

Now I just hope I didn't put my fingers in the jar at any point.

How did you pack the jar? I made 3 jars last night and had one heck of a time trying to get the lemons into a pint jar. I'm worried that my lemons won't turn out well for that reason. Like you, I worry that I might've accidently dipped a finger. :unsure:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Relax and enjoy your lemons.

As long as they don't smell like furniture polish you and the lemons are fine.


Edited by Wolfert (log)

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hmmmm good question, but I think YOU will know. :blink:


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey. I thought I'd chime in because I use preserved lemons at work all of the time. The restaurant is an international bistro, but my boss is moroccan so we have a tajine on our menu, it just happens to come out of my station.

We have several 2 1/2 foot tall baboo shaped jars in which we make preserved lemons. It usually takes about a month before they are okay for consumption. Then I slice up a whole lemon, not just the peel but the whole thing. I mix it with saffron, tomatoes, diced potatoes and carrots, diced onion, ginger, garlic, and cilantro. Then all of this is cooked down with white wine to make a thick sauce. I like to mash up some of the potatoes to thicken the sauce.

The sauce is then served over a halved and roasted cornish hen that was rubbed with garlic and giner. Its one of my favorite dishes on our menu.

Although I do like a lot of the dishes on our menu.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rasputin, that sounds very nice.

Whenever I make goat I tend to use preserved lemons. I put a few chopped up in a cheesecloth bag into the braising liquid. Then I use the peel to make zest strips and puree the pulp along with some mirin, roasted garlic, mint and then a bit of MNediterranean yogurt or kafir for a sauce.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These keep very well in the fridge. I have a jar that was made well over a year ago. Just checked them and the look and smell just right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Relax and enjoy your lemons.

As long as they don't smell like furniture polish you and the lemons are  fine.

My furniture polish smells like lemons, so how am I to tell?

There's a certain "fuel oil" scent to Pledge, or most of the other lemon scented polishes. :shock:


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just picked up a big bag of Meyer lemons today to try my hand at making preserved lemons. The basic method seems simple enough, but none of the recipes I've seen mention anything about jar sterilization. Should I process my mason jar in boiling water before and/or after filling it with lemons? Does the acid combined with refrigeration eliminate any bacteria worries? If anyone could clear this up, it would be much appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

dishwasher / boiling water rinse should do the trick.

theres so much acid in there you absolutely don't need to worry about it.

close up the jar tight and leave the lemons where they can get some sunlight, as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just picked up a big bag of Meyer lemons today to try my hand at making preserved lemons.  The basic method seems simple enough, but none of the recipes I've seen mention anything about jar sterilization.  Should I process my mason jar in boiling water before and/or after filling it with lemons?  Does the acid combined with refrigeration eliminate any bacteria worries?  If anyone could clear this up, it would be much appreciated.

I didn't sterilize and mine turned out fine. The glass jar was clean but that was about it.


Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never sterilized my jars, either. As noted above, there's a huge amount of acid (even with the Meyers) and salt. The lemons deteriorate over time but I don't think it's due to anything growing in them. (Brine shrimp, perhaps? :wink: )


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, I can admit it, I have taken the simplest of things to make and messed it up. But I'm not too proud to ask for help.

I was doing some preserved lemons for the first time tonight...and while I read the recipe I didn't print it, so was kind of going from memory...the recipe says sprinkle the cut sides of the lemons with salt. For some reason I took that as 'cram in as much salt as they will hold'. Sooooo....each quart jar of lovely lemons has about 3/4 of a cup of salt settled at the bottom.

I'm wondering if this will work:

Empty the jars. Separate the lemons from the juice. Let the salt settle to the bottom of a jug and pour off the juice. Clean, sterilize and repack the jars, using just the incredibly salty lemon juice.

Do you think that would work or do I just have to start again?

On the upswing, my hands smell great and my trash can has never been so lemony fresh :smile:


Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And another one here.

There are some pictures in this topic. They are from the method used by Patricia Wells and it comes out about like what you describe. Yes, they are very salty. You rinse before using.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would leave things alone. Press down on the lemons with a wooden spoon over a period of days until they are compressed and stay below the liquid line, then cap the jar and let it work. I covered my last batch with olive oil but I don't think that is necessery.

Okay, I can admit it, I have taken the simplest of things to make and messed it up.  But I'm not too proud to ask for help.

I was doing some preserved lemons for the first time tonight...and while I read the recipe I didn't print it, so was kind of going from memory...the recipe says sprinkle the cut sides of the lemons with salt.  For some reason I took that as 'cram in as much salt as they will hold'.  Sooooo....each quart jar of lovely lemons has about 3/4 of a cup of salt settled at the bottom. 

I'm wondering if this will work:

Empty the jars.  Separate the lemons from the juice.  Let the salt settle to the bottom of a jug and pour off the juice.  Clean, sterilize and repack the jars, using just the incredibly salty lemon juice. 

Do you think that would work or do I just have to start again? 

On the upswing, my hands smell great and my trash can has never been so lemony fresh  :smile:


Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Bill Miller.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My jar of lemons always has some undissolved salt on the bottom.

If anyone gets desparate and wants to buy some ready-make, I discovered this site a few days ago. Ingredients Gourmet

WARNING! Do not wander off the path and look at the selection of grains/beans, pantry, olives, cheeses, the rest of Mediterranean or spices.

I did and am considerably poorer now. The first part of my order should arrive any time now.............

They have the edible gold leaf cheaper than I can get it from my usual place, even with shipping cost.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paula,

I have a question too. I have always just scrubbed the lemons well to make sure the skin is clean.

However, at the local middle eastern market, the wife of one of the owners told me that with the very thick-skinned lemons I should soak them in lukewarm water for two or three days, changing the water morning and evening, and this will make the peel tender and not so leathery. She said it wasn't necessary with the thin-skinned Meyer lemons or "sweet limes" which look just like the Meyers, only with the big ones with the very thick and tough skin.

She said that in some places, if the lemons are very dense and hard, they will blister the skins very lightly over a flame. I had never heard of this but she said in the northeast mountains of Lebanon, where she is from, there are some areas where the foods are very different from the foods of the seacoast areas. However she says she left there 33 years ago and things may have changed by now.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the great threads and advice...I will keep my mucky paws off them and just let them do thier thing!


Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whole Foods had Meyer Lemons for $2.99/pound so I bought all they had. Um, except for three ugly little ones. My husband loves Meyer Lemon Sherbet and since I had more than enough for that recipe, I looked for something else to make with them.

I have The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen. I looked at the recipes for the 30 day and 7 day Preserved Lemons and decided to go with the 30 day recipe. Because that will give me time to figure out what to make with them since I've never even tasted them before.

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 down to 1/2" from the bottom.

While I did reshape the lemons as directed, I wasn't obsessive about it. When I squished the lemons down with a wooden spoon to get them to fit, the lemons smushed and the parts are no longer perfectly aligned.

Is this a problem? Is it the exposure of the flesh that makes the lemons not last as long?

The first time I make a recipe, all I care about is whether or not it has potential. Worst case scenario is that I inadvertently made 7 day lemons.

- Kim


If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of weeks ago I made 3 quarts of preserved lemons...I couldn't fit enough in the jar when they were still attached at the bottom, so I just cut them all the way through. Seems to have worked fine. Probably the reason the 7 day ones don't last as long is because the smaller pieces deteriorate faster than the bigger ones. I don't think you are going to have any problems.

I will offer this advice tho...if for any reason you decide to dump them out of the jar and repackage them in smaller jars, wear rubber gloves. The salt/lemon juice combo burned the crap out of my hands.


Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

I will offer this advice tho...if for any reason you decide to dump them out of the jar and repackage them in smaller jars, wear rubber gloves. The salt/lemon juice combo burned the

It is a good idea to wear gloves or use wooden utensils when handling the lemons. You risk introducing foreign bacteria which can screw up the aroma and taste of the lemons. If your lemons smell like furniture polish you did something wrong, and that is usually the reason.


Edited by Wolfert (log)

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?


Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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?

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..


Edited by Wolfert (log)

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.