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How to Make Preserved Lemons

Learn how to preserve your own lemons to add a unique citrus twist to your winter cooking. It’s incredibly easy to do, and only takes a few weeks of fermentation. The results are delicious, and they can be used in wonderfully unexpected ways ranging from flavoring meat to garnishing cocktails, and even in desserts!

| January/February 2019

Preserved lemons are easy to make at home and can add a bright and unique flavor to a variety of dishes.
Photo by Getty Images/violleta

Preserved lemons, also known as “lemon pickles,” are lemons fermented in a mixture of their own juices and salt to help preserve them well past their peak season. In an age where fresh fruits are available year-round, you may wonder why it’s worth going through the trouble. The answer is simple: Preserved lemons are easy to make, remain shelf-stable for up to a year, and introduce a novel, exotic flavor profile that you can add to almost any dish.

It was during my years as a personal chef that I came across these multifaceted gems while scouring cookbooks in search of unique flavors. Years later, preserved lemons continue to be a staple in my home.

The great thing about the exhilarating flavor of lemons is that they’re almost universal in their application possibilities. Don’t limit yourself to the few recipes that I’ve provided. Rather, try sprinkling preserved lemons into a few of your favorite dishes; you may be surprised at how well the bright taste accompanies a number of diverse flavors.

Photo by Adobe Stock/qwartm

A few other ways I enjoy using preserved lemons include mixing them into chicken and tuna salads, using them as a topping on Cobb and Caesar salads, and using delicate slices as garnishes on cocktails. More adventurous palates may even enjoy preserved lemons on ice cream drizzled with honey. The possibilities are endless!

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