Why Zesty Preserved Lemons Ought to Be in Your Pantry
Making preserved lemons at home is so easy and much less expensive than buying them. These lemons are certainly worth the minimal effort they take to prepare. You will soon find yourself jazzing up just about everything with a hit of their zesty citrus flavor.
It’s no accident that preserved lemons are a staple of the North African and Middle Eastern pantry. Preserving lemons in salt, water, and their own juice is both economical and practical. However, this simple process also yields a condiment that is significantly greater than the sum of its parts.
The simplicity of the preservation process belies the resulting sophistication of flavor. As they ferment, these lemons develop a more intense flavor, enhanced by a subtle saltiness and mild tartness. Rather than the initial acidic sourness, this flavor is the elegant product of lacto fermentation.
Lemons & Patience
If you’re anything like me, your bookshelves are overflowing with recipe books. You have likely drooled over many a tantalizing North African recipe on a sultry Sunday afternoon.
You may have been frustrated by a quick scan of the ingredients list. Your eye would have paused at preserved lemons, and you would have immediately realized the recipe would have to wait.
You already know preparing preserved lemons requires an entire month of patience, and waiting! You may even have tried your hand at preparing preserved lemons once upon a time, only to be stuck with a jar full of lemons you had no idea how to use. Therefore, you could be tempted to move on to more promising culinary pastures.
What a mistake that would be! Preserved lemons taste great in a wide variety of dishes. They are a welcome addition to soups, salads, pastas, cocktails, and just about anything else that benefits from a perky, salty burst of citrus — minus the acidity of fresh fruit. Like so much in life, preserved lemons are worth the wait.
Once you’ve made your first batch, you’ll find plenty of reasons to keep a jar or two hanging around in the fridge. If you start using preserved lemons to add a salty citrusy zest to your dishes, you’ll find their uses are almost infinite.
If you doubt the truth of that statement, see below for recipes — both traditional and not — that involve this most addictive preserved fruit! Bon appétit!
Preserved Lemon Recipes
- Stuffed Baby Peppers with Bulgur, Tuna, and Preserved Lemon
- Mediterranean Tomato Salad with Onion, Spiced Feta, and Preserved Lemon
- Olives Marinated with Herbs, Garlic and Preserved Lemon
- Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Olives and Preserved Lemon
- Ice Cold Gazpacho, A Zesty, Refreshing, No-Cook Summer Soup