I had been wanting to try a Moroccan tagine with preserved lemons for a while but I was not able to as I could not find the preserved lemons anywhere. When I saw that lemons were plentiful and cheap at the grocery stores I thought that it was finally time to just try to make my own lemon preserves. Luckily the preserved lemons turned out to be really easy to make. You pretty much just cut them open, salt them heavily, pack them in a jar and wait. While looking for recipes for the preserved lemons I came across a variety that included spices like cinnamon, cloves, star anise, etc. For my first batch I decided to just stick with the basic preserved lemons and not worry about which spices to use. Some recipes called for waiting up to 2 months for the lemons to do their thing but others said that 3 weeks would be enough. One rule of thumb that I came across was that they would be ready when the white pith was no longer white. I was a bit impatient and I decided that the pith was no longer white and cracked open one of the jars just after the three week mark and I made the tagine with preserved lemons. I quite liked the preserved lemons! The rind had softened up nicely and it had a really nice texture. Of course the preserved lemons retained their lemony good flavour. Now I am looking forward to enjoying my preserved lemons and I am also thinking that I am going to have to make a spiced batch to try as well.
Preserved Lemons(1 quart/1 liter preserved lemons)
8 lemons (washed and dried)
1/2 cup salt
sterilized 1 quart jar
1. Pour 2 tablespoon salt into the bottom of the jar.
2. Cut the tip and the ends from the lemons exposing some of the white pith.
3. Quarter the lemons from top to bottom stopping just before the end leaving the quarters attached.
4. Generously sprinkle salt all over the inside of the lemons.
5. Pack the lemons into the jar so tight that the juice is squeezed from them and fills up the jar.
6. Seal the jar and let sit at room temperature for three days, flipping every once in a while.
7. Move the jar to the fridge and let sit for a minimum of three weeks, flipping every once in a while.
8. Rinse the preserved lemons and remove the pulp before slicing or chopping the rind for use in your dish.
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