Preserved lemons let you enjoy the fresh taste and health benefits of lemons all year long. Like other citrus fruits, lemons are best known for their vitamin C content, but lemons offer many other health benefits. The outer peel of lemons, referred to as lemon “zest,” not only adds special flavor, but is also loaded with protective plant compounds, including limonene and other anti-inflammatory polyphenols. The white inner peel of a lemon is rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that helps to control cholesterol and also supports a healthy gut microbiome. While these preserved lemons are relatively high in sodium (about 1 tsp salt/lemon), a typical dish made with these lemons would include at most only about a quarter of this amount, depending on the recipe.
- 12 lemons (preferably Meyer lemons)
- 6 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
Wash and dry the lemons. Cut off each end, and cut each lemon lengthwise into 8 wedges, removing seeds when possible. Place the lemon wedges in a large glass bowl. Cover tightly, and freeze for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, remove the lemons from the freezer. Let them sit at room temperature for an hour or so until they can be easily separated. Then sprinkle the lemon wedges with salt, mixing together so that all wedges are salt-coated.
Transfer the salted lemon wedges to a colander set over a bowl and let them drain for 4 hours. Discard the lemon juice/salt mixture drained from the lemon wedges (or you can save this very salty mixture to use in small amounts as a seasoning).
Pack the lemon wedges into wide-mouth freezer-safe glass jars. (I used glass jars that hold about 1.5 cups each). Press down lemons to remove air bubbles. Cover the lemon wedges with olive oil. Store in a cool, dry place for 2 to 3 days before using.
Once the jars have been opened, keep refrigerated. These preserved lemons will last, tightly covered in the refrigerator, for 6 months or more. You can freeze some jars to make sure that your supply will last longer than 6 months. Be sure not to fill the jars you plan to freeze too full, to allow space for expansion, which will prevent the container from breaking in the freezer.
Makes 12 preserved lemons. Each preserved lemon provides about 180 calories, 1g protein, 18g fat (2g sat), 0 mg cholesterol, 12g carbohydrate (0g sugar; 5g fiber), 67 mg calcium, 13 mg magnesium, 2330 mg sodium, 160 mg potassium.