Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible


Preserved Lemons

By Steven Raichlen

A staple in Moroccan cuisine, preserved lemons deliver a high voltage wallop to any dish to which you add them. Traditionally, they’d be pickled for several weeks. Here’s a quick version you can make in 48 hours.


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  • 4 lemons (preferably organic)
  • 1 cup coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups lemon juice (fresh or frozen, not bottled)

Step 1: Wash the lemons well and dry. Starting at the pointed end, make two deep lengthwise cuts in each lemon, almost to the stem end, one cut at a 90-degree angle to the other. Pry the lemons open and pack as much salt as possible into each lemon. (You should be able to pack about 2 tablespoons in each.) Place the lemons in a deep non-reactive bowl just large enough to hold them and pack the excess salt around them. Marinate for 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Step 2: Place the lemons and salt in a deep nonreactive (non-aluminum) saucepan. Add the lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cover the pan. Gently simmer the lemons until tender, about 20 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Step 3: Place the lemons with their juices in clean jars, like Ball jars. (Tip: place a sheet of plastic wrap under the lid to keep the lemon fumes and juices from corroding the metal.) The lemons are ready to use now and will keep for several months in the refrigerator.