Preserved lemons extend specialty citrus season

In several weeks of suggestions for using citrus, this blog’s latest took a cue from Moroccan cuisine.

Orange-blossom water situates a fresh orange salad in North Africa. But that isn’t the region’s quintessential use of citrus, of course. Preserved lemons are a hallmark of Moroccan cuisine and almost simpler to make at home than to order online.

If you’ve ever made traditional sauerkraut with only cabbage, salt and a container that keeps everything submerged and subject to the proliferation of beneficial bacteria, this method will be very familiar. It’s an ideal way to extend the season for specialty citrus, such as Meyer lemons, or even kumquats and sweet limes.

Like sauerkraut, preserved lemons are a palate-cleansing condiment to cut the richness of meat-based dishes. They’re also delicious, as one would expect, with fish and seafood.

Read my story in this month’s Oregon Healthy Living magazine for more suggestions to take advantage of lemons and the season’s tangy-sweet varieties.

Tribune News Service photo

Easy Preserved Lemons

Scrub 2 whole lemons clean. Cut each lemon into wedges, leaving them attached at stem ends. Coat with a generous amount of coarse (kosher) salt. Pack tightly into a small glass jar; sprinkle with more salt. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice to come about halfway up lemons. Put lid on jar.

Let stand at room temperature for a couple of days, shaking jar every day. Refrigerate for about 1 week. Lemons will keep 3 months or more in refrigerator, and skins will get softer. Rinse off salt before using.

Recipe by Chicago Tribune “Dinner at Home” columnist JeanMarie Brownson.

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