Monday, March 3, 2014

Morracon or Preserved Lemons

Awhile ago, I posted a recipe for Moroccan Lemons and Linguine, and I promised to share with you how we made the preserved Moroccan lemons.  Well, better late than never, right?

It is really very easy to do - though the lemons do need a bit of time to set after you put them in the jar - 3 to 4 weeks.  The basic premise of preserved lemons are that they are pickled in salt and their own juices.  Many Moroccan and Middle Eastern recipes call for preserved lemons.

This is actually something that Charlie heard about and decided to do (he is so creative).  I am so glad he did!







 Moroccan (or Preserved) Lemons

 

  • 10 to 15 lemons, depending on how big your jar is
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt, though you might need a bit more
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice, if needed


To start, pick a jar - make sure it isn't one you won't need right away as it will be busy for a month or two or three.  I chose to use a 1/2 gallon mason jar.  Make the sure the jar is sterilized (you can do this by putting boiling water in the jar - just be careful!).  Place 2 tablespoons of kosher salt in the bottom of the jar.

To prepare the lemons, first make sure they are stem free.  Cut off a bit of one tip of lemon.  Then, cut the lemons as if you were going to cut them in half lengthwise.  Start at the tip you cut off, but do not cut all the way to the other tip - keep the lemon attached at the base. Make another cut to quarter the lemon, but make sure it is still attached at the base.  Repeat with the rest of your lemons.

Gently pry the lemons open and generously sprinkle salt all over the insides and outsides of the lemons.
Pack the lemons in your jar, squishing them down so that juice is extracted and the lemon juice rises to the top of the jar.  Fill up the jar with lemons, make sure the top is covered with lemon juice. Add more fresh squeezed lemon juice if necessary. Top with a couple tablespoons of salt.

Seal the jar and let sit at room temperature for a couple days. Turn the jar upside down occasionally. Put in refrigerator and let sit, again turning upside down occasionally, for at least 3 weeks, until lemon rinds soften.

To use, remove a lemon from the jar and rinse thoroughly in water to remove salt.  Discard seeds before using. Discard the pulp before using, if desired - but make sure to use the rest of the lemon, peel and all!

Note: the Moroccan lemons will store in refrigerator for up to 6 months.

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