I am just terrible at recipe exchanges – like chain letters and book exchanges, I seem to end up with a 100% “please don’t ask me” response when I try to do it. I can, however, share a recipe….

Since it is “Meyer Lemon season” and our friends with a wonderful tree share their harvest…

•  preserved lemons
lemons, kosher salt, bay leaves, clean sterile jars

Wash, scrub and dry enough lemons to fill a quart or liter canning jar, wide mouth.
I really like the wide flat angled Leifheit jars that are flat-diamond shaped, but any
mason quart or pint will do. You will also need additional lemons to juice to complete the recipe.

Working on a large cutting mat or tray, trim the ends, then slicing pole-to-pole,
NOT ALL THE WAY THROUGH, quarter the lemon and open it out like a tulip. Add 2 Tablespoons kosher salt to center, then close back up and place in bottom of jar, repeat with each lemon, inserting a Bay Leaf on each side of the jar as you fill it, scraping up the salt and juice that accumulates and tipping into jar as you go. Press lemons down snug.

When jar is really full, press down, add 2 more Tablespoons salt
then add enough freshly squeezed lemon juice to cover lemons to top.
Seal with fresh lid and ring.

Set on counter where you will see them EVERYDAY. Once a day, turn them upside down and back right-side up to mix. Do that every day for approx 2 weeks.

Store in fridge (keep up to a year). I do not hot process (can) these, so I feel they need the refrigeration.

I do make 6-8 quarts every season, and a few pints to give away. The smaller the lemons, the nicer, blemish free. They are ready to use after 2 weeks tho I like to let them sit a bit longer in the fridge.

•  uses for preserved lemons

  • various tajine recipes and stews – generally you rinse them, toss the fleshy pith and then dry and chop or julienne
  • fast dip for veggies (this I make at least once a week):
  • ¼ to ½ preserved lemon, rinsed, gutted of soft excessively salty flesh, chopped fine,
  • added to ½ to 1 cup Greek yougurt (non-fat works fine), add fresh ground pepper to taste
  • garnish for savoury dishes or soups – rinsed, julienned
  • piquant accent in salads or grain dishes or in picatta or a sofrito

My inspirations for the method: Paula Wolfert and Jamie Oliver. Jamie has a spiced version that I make a small batch of – it has allspice, coriander and some other spices. Smells nice when prepping but it actually is nicer to stick to the simple method using salt and bay. Paula Wolfert keeps a jar out on her counter of these year round. I am too paranoid and like to store them in the fridge which explains why there is so seldom enough room in mine! The presence of lemons as a pantry item is Greek girl thing, but also with a nod to my time in Maroc as a young AFS student in 1974.