Preserved lemons are a classic component of North African cuisines, but are a flavor powerhouse adaptable to all kinds of foods. Try them in soups, salad dressing, pasta dishes, with roasted veggies, and anything else where their pleasant tang might be welcome. You can also add warm spices like whole cinnamon, cloves, or cardamom when you add the peppercorns and bay leaves if you’d like!
3 to 5 organic Meyer lemons
1 heaping teaspoon black peppercorns (optional)
2 bay leaves (optional)
Scrub three to five organic lemons, enough to fit snugly in a roughly pint-sized jar with a tight-fitting lid. Slice each lemon “vertically” from the top to about half an inch from the bottom, nearly cutting them into quarters but leaving the pieces attached at one end. Rub kosher salt over the cut surfaces and then reshape the fruit. Cover the bottom of the jar with more kosher salt. Fit all the cut lemons in, breaking them apart if necessary. Sprinkle salt on each layer.
Press the lemons down to release their juices. Add the peppercorns and bay leaves to the jar. Squeeze additional prepared lemons into the jar if you can fit them.
Close the jar and let ripen at a cool room temperature, shaking the jar every day for 3 to 4 weeks, or until the rinds are tender to the bite. Then store the jar in the refrigerator.
To use, remove a piece of lemon and rinse it (you can add more fresh lemons to the brine as you use them up.). Scrape the white pulp from the rind and mince the rind. Add the rind at the very end of cooking, or use it raw. The pulp can be added to a simmering pot of soup or stew.