A couple weeks ago, MAKE Senior Editor Stett Holbrook brought in some of his homemade preserved lemons for a Google+ Hangout all about edible holiday gifts. I got a taste, and ever since then I’ve been fondly savoring the memory. Preserved lemons are delicious. Salty and sour, they’re a common ingredient in Indian and North African cuisine.
In northern California, where I live, it seems like anyone with a Meyer lemon tree has more lemons than they know what to do with right now. After receiving a bag full of Meyer lemons from my friend Joy, I decided to take the leap and preserve some of my own. I guess it’s not that much of a leap — it’s pretty easy. It was just my first time sterilizing a jar.
I decided to use one of those glass jars with a hinged lid. I put the entire thing underwater in a pot and boiled it for 15 minutes. After it was dry and cool, I put in a layer of kosher salt, cut deep crosses in each lemon (but kept the segments connected at the stem base), liberally sprinkled more salt inside each one, and crammed them into the jar, squashing them a bit to extract the juice. I topped it off with the juice of an additional lemon, for good cover, sprinkled some more salt on top, and sealed it. (I followed this recipe over on Eat Boutique.)
I’ll keep the jar out for three days, then in the fridge for three more weeks, flipping it every other day, until they’re ready for me to start enjoying.
What can you do with them? Here are a few recipes that call for preserved lemons: