Preserving in oil is an ancient tradition from the middle East. These simple spiced preserved lemons in oil are a modern take on an ancient classic. they are really useful in the kitchen so well worth making.
Ah the zinginess of fresh lemons, they make my mouth water just thinking about them. While fresh lemons are great to have on hand for your G&T (a must!) or for cooking, preserved lemons are useful too and these lemons in oil are so handy to have in the larder.
I make lots of preserved lemons, in fact there is already a recipe for my super quick amd easy preserved lemons on this blog for you to try. Of course those preserved lemons are done in the more usual way by being preserved in salt.
These lemons in oil are useful for cooking when you want a bit of minced up lemon in a savoury dish but don’t happen to have any to hand. The lemon peel is all softened by the oil (just as salt softens it) so you merely mince up the peel and use that in your cooking.
This recipe for lemons in oil comes from my eBook Gourmet Gifts For Christmas which has loads of super easy recipes for foodie gifts that are great at any time of year. After all a gift isn’t just for Christmas!
Ingredients for preserved lemons in oil
6 unwaxed lemons (if you can’t get unwaxed then just buy normal lemons and give them a good scrub with hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly then dry, that’ll remove the wax coating that is there to make them last longer in the shops)
3 tablespoons of sea salt
a bay leaf and 3 cloves and 6 peppercorns per jar
1 small dried chilli per jar and your extra virgin olive oil
How to make preserved lemons
Cut your lemons into either quarters or slices and mix in a bowl with the salt and leave overnight. Personally I like slices as they soften quicker.
Next morning transfer to a colander and allow to drain for 2 hours shaking it occasionally.
Pack the lemons into sterilised jars and add the spices and top with olive oil (use a skewer to make sure there is no air trapped among the lemons).
Seal jars and set aside for 2 weeks to mature.
How long will these keep?
They will keep for up to 6 months or more in the fridge. Once opened make sure that you keep the lemon slices covered with oil. Just add more if you need to.
The oil will solidify in the fridge and look hard and cloudy. Do not panic, this is normal. Just take the jar out of the fridge and remove the amount of preserved lemons you require and put them into a little bowl to come up to room temperature. Pop the jar back into the fridge.
Can you can these preserved lemons?
Yes, you can water bath can these for 45 minutes. This will soften up the lemons more. They preserved lemons in oil will keep for up to a year in a cool place.
How to use preserved lemons in oil
Use these lemons just as you would preserved lemons in salt. Simply chop up the softened lemon peel and add it to your dishes.
These preserved lemons are great added to stuffing in a roast chicken. Stirred into a gorgeous lemon risotto. Obviously preserved lemon of any type is a must with any Moroccan tagine recipes. Oh, and don’t forget about adding some to your couscous.
Use these lemons minced and stirred into pasta dishes for a Sicilian vibe. They are great added to salad dressings as well as to salad itself.
Now what fish dish would be complete without lemon. Use these preserved lemons in oil for all sorts of fish dishes.
Can you use the lemon oil?
Yes, of course you can. This richly flavoured lemon oil is just perfect for adding to salad dressings. For adding to fish when grilling or baking. For veggie cooking and pork and chicken too.
Looking for more fun ideas for preserving veggies in oil? Then check out these recipes before you go;
Oven dried ‘sun-dried’ tomatoes in oil
French style preserved garlic in oil
Grilled courgettes/zucchini in olive oil
Confit tomatoes (tomatoes preserved in olive oil)
Mixed peppers preserved in oil
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Spiced Preserved Lemons In Oil
- 6 lemons unwaxed or washed
- 3 tbsp sea salt
- 1 bay leaf per jar
- 3 cloves per jar
- 6 peppercorns per jar
- 1 dried chilli small dried chilli per jar
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Slice the lemons either into rounds and place in a bowl with the salt and mix well
- Leave overnight then next day place in a collander and allow to drain for 2 hours shaking occasionally
- Pack lemons into jars and add the spices to each jar and top with the oil using a skewer to make sure there is no air trapped in the lemons
- Seal with lids and set aside for 2 weeks to mature
- Will keep for up to 6 months or longer stored in fridge
Not sure if my message went through earlier.
Can one replace the olive oil with rape seed / canola oil?
Also, if water bathing, are the jars shelf stable until opened after which they will be refrigerated? How long will they last in the fridge after opening if preserved in rape seed / canola oil?
Karon Grieve says
Yes you can use other types of oil. I imagine they would keep same length of time though I only ever use olive oil myself.