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Please note that there is another recipe of hers that follows this one. It is for the 7-Day Preserved Lemons.
1/4 c Salt; more if desired
1 Cinnamon stick
5-6 coriander seeds
3-4 black peppercorns
1 Bay leaf
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
-- if necessary
The author writes: "Preserved lemons, sold loose in the souks, are
one of the indispensable ingredients of Moroccan cooking, used in
fragrant lamb and vegetables tagines, recipes for chicken with lemons
and olives, and salads. Their unique pickled taste and special
silken texture cannot be duplicated with fresh lemon or lime juice,
despite what some food writers have said. In Morocco they are made
with a mixture of fragrant-skinned doqq and tart boussera lemons, but
I have had excellent luck with American lemons from Florida and
"Moroccan Jews have a slightly different procedure for pickling, which
involves the use of olive oil, but this recipe, which includes
optional herbs (in the manner of Safi), will produce a true Moroccan
"The important thing in preserving lemons is to be certain they are
completely covered with salted lemon juice. With my recipe you can
use the lemon juice over and over again. (As a matter of fact, I
keep a jar of used pickling juice in the kitchen, and when I make
Bloody Marys or salad dressings and have a half lemon left over, I
toss it into the jar and let it marinate with the rest.) Use wooden
utensils to remove lemons as needed."
"Sometimes you will see a sort of lacy, white substance clinging to
preserved lemons in their jar; it is perfectly harmless, but should be
rinsed off for aesthetic reasons just before the lemons are used.
Preserved lemons are rinsed, in any case, to rid them of their salty
taste. Cook with both pulps and rinds, if desired."
To make preserved lemons: If you wish to soften the peel, soak the
lemons in lukewarm water for 3 days, changing the water daily.
Quarter the lemons from the top to within 1/2" of the bottom, sprinkle
salt on the exposed flesh, and then reshape the fruit.
Place 1 tb. salt on the bottom of a sterilized one-pint mason jar.
Pack in the lemons and push them down, adding more salt, and the
optional spices, between layers. Press the lemons down to release
their juices and to make room for the remaining lemons. (If the
juice released from the squashed fruit does not cover them, add
freshly squeezed lemon juice - not chemically produced lemon juice
and not water.*) Leave some air space before sealing the jar.
Let the lemons ripen in a warm place, shaking the jar each day to
distribute the salt and juice. Let ripen for 30 days.
To use, rinse the lemons, as needed, under running water, removing and
discarding the pulp, if desired - and there is no need to refrigerate
after opening. Preserved lemons will keep up to a year, and the
pickling juice can be used two or three times over the course of a
*According to the late Michael Field, the way to extract the maximum
amount of juice from a lemon is to boil it in water for 2 or 3
minutes and allow it to cool before squeezing.
Cathy's note: I thought that the Safi spice combination sounded so
good that I included it all as part of Wolfert's recipe although,
when she wrote it, she only called for the lemons and salt as the
main ingredients and made the rest of the ingredients optional.
From _Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco_ by Paula Wolfert.
New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1987. Pp. 30-32. ISBN
Paula Wolfert's Seven-Day Preserved Lemons
4 large (about 6 ounces each) lemons (preferably thin-skinned),
2/3 cup koshering salt
1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 5 large lemons)
Dry lemons well and cut each into 8 wedges. In a bowl
toss wedges with salt and transfer to a glass jar (about 6-cup capacity).
Add lemon juice and cover jar with a tight-fitting glass lid or
plastic-coated lid. Let lemons stand at room temperature 7 days, shaking
jar each day to redistribute salt and juice. Add oil to cover lemons and
store, covered and chilled, up to 6 months. Makes 4 preserved lemons.