The City Magazine Since 1975

Preserved Lemons

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  • 10 Meyer lemons
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

{Yields 2 pints}

Place lemons in a large pot and fill with enough water to cover the fruit. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove and cool.

With a sharp knife, remove the stem ends of 6 of the lemons. Slice into quarters from pole to pole. As you cut the lemons, remove seeds.  
Sterilize 2 wide-mouth pint jars, lids, and their bands. When the jars are dry but still hot, pack them with the lemon wedges. Sprinkle in 3 tablespoons of salt per jar and shake to distribute evenly.

Juice the remaining four lemons. Top each jar with one tablespoon of salt, then distribute the juice between the jars, covering the lemons completely. If you see air bubbles along the side of the jar, slip a butter knife down into it and press aside the fruit to allow juice to fill the space.   

Set lids and screw the bands on fingertip tight. Allow the lemons to ferment on your kitchen counter for one week, turning jars upside down every other day or so (the fruit will become soft and the salt and juice mixture syrupy). Add the olive oil to fill the jars 1/4-inch from the top and transfer jars to the refrigerator, where they will hold for up to six months.

Tip: Preserved lemons are perfect mixed into risotto, or atop grilled fish and chicken.