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Culinary Trick: Preserved Lemons


Here’s a new way to zing up food with a lemony taste. Preserved lemons give a whole new quality to the citrus fruit and they can last for up to 6 months.

Everyone knows that lemons add lots of flavor to food, whether it’s sweet or savory, but typically recipes only call for using the juice or the zest — whole lemons are just too concentrated to use in their entirety … or are they? Preserved lemons are a great way to add an intense citrusy flavor to anything. By storing salt with whole lemons in a jar over a long period of time, lemons take on a whole new quality. And preserved lemons allow you to extend the life of gorgeous in-season citrus.

It’s really easy to preserve lemons — all you need is salt and lots of lemons, stuffed in a jar. The salt preserves the lemons naturally, so there’s no need for any artificial preservatives. The lemons last for at least 6 months in the refrigerator.

When you’ve got a jar of preserved lemons on hand, reach for them any time you want to add some citrusy flair to a recipe–pastas, meats, vegetables or dressings. When people ask “what’s that unique flavor?” you can tell them all about preserved lemons. It’s a surefire way to impress your family and friends at dinner.

The custom of preserving lemons probably originated in North Africa with Morocco being most famous for them. You can also find them in Southeast Asian cuisine. Use preserved lemons in roasts, stews and braises, and the juice from preserved lemons can also be used to make amazing dips or dressings (it’s very salty as you can imagine, so a little bit goes a long way).

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