If you love tagines and other North African/Moroccan and Middle Eastern cooking then you’ll know about preserved lemons. They do take a while to mature though. But these super quick and easy preserved lemons are ready to use in just 4 days!
Doesn’t this look all bright and summery, what a difference from the freezing cold weather we seem to be having just now here in Scotland. I thought I’d share this super simple recipe for Quick Preserved Lemons as an idea for your Christmas gifting ideas for foodie friends and family.
What are preserved lemons
Preserved lemons are lemons that are basically pickled in salt and their own juice as opposed to a pickling brine. Now don’t go thinking that this is just any old pickle. Far from it. Preserved lemons are like normal lemons but on speed. They pack a punch of flavour that will make any dish positively sing.
Traditional preserved lemons take a few weeks to be ready as you use the whole lemon and quarter it from top to bottom. In my super quick preserved lemons recipe you are slicing the lemons so that the salt gets into the flesh much quicker.
What type of jar to use
I have used a chunky 1/2 kilo/1 lb sized Kilner Jar here as it is a good size and easy to get the lemons into and out of. These jars also make great gifts as you ca reuse them in so many ways from preserving to crafting and home decor.
You just need to peep at Pinterest to see how folks use these jars to great effect. Any wide mouthed jar will do. In fact for gifting I tend to use small jars that are just wide enough for the lemon slices to fit comfortably. Then I stack up the slices with the salt and spices.
Anyway back to those quick preserved lemons.
Ingredients for preserved lemons
- 5 unwaxed lemons (if you can’t get unwaxed then just get ‘normal’ lemons and scrub really well in hot soapy water to remove the preservative wax and then dry well)
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds (optional)
- 1/2 tsp allspice berries (optional)
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns (optional)
- 2 bay leaves (optional)
- 100g/3 1/2 oz Malden salt flakes/sea salt
How to make quick preserved lemons
This is an assembling job rather than doing any type of cooking at all. Now how cool is that, just some fun kitchen crafting and you get a great result at the end of it.
- All you need to do is slice those lemons into rings each about 0.5cm/1/4″ wide and start layering them in your jar. Add in the salt here and there and also the spices as you go.
- Just keep layering up those lemons and adding in the other ingredients as you go. Finish off with a layer of salt on the top.
- Pop on that lid and give it all a jolly good shake.
- Now set aside for 4 – 7 days and shake it every day.
You don’t have to use any of the flavourings I’ve used here. Sometimes I just make my preserved lemons with peppercorns and a bay leaf. Sometimes with nothing but salt.
It’s entirely up to you.
How long will preserved lemons keep?
They will keep unopened in a cool cupboard for up to a year. Once opened store them in the fridge where they will keep for months as long as the lemon covered in the salty lemon juice.
How much does this recipe make?
The images here show one big 500ml jar. But in the video you’ll see me use small jars as they make such great wee foodie gifts.
Each jar holds one lemon and the slices fit perfecty in the jars. These are 200ml jars.
How do you use preserved lemons
Now this is a strange one. You don’t use the flesh of the lemon in your cooking. Instead you use the flesh of the preserved lemon.
Take a slice of preserved lemon from the jar and rinse off the salt and pat it dry.
Remove any flesh left on the skin and discard this. Now simply chop up the beautifully soft and zingy lemon peel.
How to cook/serve preserved lemons
Use these slices of preserved lemon in all sorts of Moroccan and North African dishes. Anywhere that wants a good kick of lemon flavour deserves some preserved lemon.
I use mine when making sauces for fish. Fish and lemon are best buddies after all. Preserved lemon also goes really well with chicken dishes. Pork chops can be livened up with some finely chopped preserved lemon.
Add some finely chopped preserved lemon to your salsas, to pesto and other dips too.
Looking for more lovely lemon ideas? Then check these out before you go;
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.
Super Quick And Easy Preserved Lemons
- 5 unwaxed lemons if you can’t get unwaxed then just get ‘normal’ lemons and scrub really well in hot soapy water to remove the preservative wax and then dry well
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds optional
- 1/2 tsp allspice berries optional
- 2 bay leaves optional
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns optional
- 100 g sea salt I used Malden salt
- Slice the lemons into rings about 0.5cm/1/4″ wide.
- Using a 1/2 litre/1 lb kilner jar (or smaller jars that just fit the lemon slices) start layering up the lemon slices and adding in the salt and spices as you go.
- Finish off with a layer of salt on top.
- Pop on the lid and shake jar well.
- Set aside for 4 – 7 days shaking every day.
- Once opened store in the fridge and rinse off the lemon, discard the flesh and use the chopped peel in your recipes.