52 Comments

  1. Oh thank you for the shout-out, Amanda. I think you would love the tajine. I enjoyed reading your words about thinking ahead of time, I guess this is yet another thing we have in common, and it works two ways for me: sometimes I buy food thinking I will do something special with it, and then it ends up in the freezer for ages, or I plan on doing something, and then realize I will only enjoy it in a week, or two, or three, or more, and end up not doing it. This is gradually changing for me as well… and my biggest achievement was making “Sir torshi”, Persian pickled fresh garlic… last June. You are supposed to wait at least one year before opening the jar, and I am still waiting!!! 🙂
    I am glad you gave these a go, they are so much better than the store-bought kind, you will be so happy when you open the jar. I hope you are having a nice week!

    • Anytime, Darya. I love the way you cook. I saw your guest post on Azita’s page this week and I knew it was you by your photography before I even read it. Very simple and beautiful. I can’t wait to try the tagine. A few people have mentioned that they have store-bought preserved lemons, but I’ve never seen them here. I didn’t realize there was another option! I’m impressed with your patience with the Sir torshi! A year! I must admit, a tinnnnny piece of me is afraid that I’m going to give myself botulism. I also pickled radishes this weekend (post to come) and I opened them two days later and I’m still alive. They were delicious….but what if I didn’t clean the lemons well enough. I guess I’ll use my judgment.

      • Store-bought preserved lemons are very common here in France, I guess it is due to the huge North-African community living here; I thought they could be found anywhere. They taste of lemon flavored dish-detergent. The first time I tried them, I thought they were the most disgusting thing ever. Then I made them myself, and saw the difference.
        I’ve never even thought about the possibility of botulism… I make my own sauerkraut every now and then, and let it ferment in an open jar at room-temperature for weeks, and I don’t even sterlize the jar (I do make sure it is very clean though). And it keeps for months afterwards! Preserving in salt is almost risk free if using organic produce that hasn’t been cleaned before you do so yourself. The method for sauerkraut and preserved lemons is the same, so I wouldn’t be worried…
        I’ll let you know how the garlic came out, as I am planning on opening it when I make Baghali Gatogh when favas are in season (a Persian fava, dill and egg dish). The garlic was pickled, not lacto-fermented, so I hope I won’t get into trouble 🙂

        • That makes me feel better. I really love your Persian dishes. I can’t wait for your post! I’m glad I never had the jarred version of lemons because I probably would not have tried it myself.

  2. We must have some psychic connection, Amanda. I was just given a dozen beautiful Meyer lemons from my aunt’s yard and was going to preserve them a la Jerusalem. I have preserved lemons before using the Zuni Cafe recipe and another cookbook (which I can’t remember at the moment) and found both somewhat disappointing in flavor. You must let us know what you think of these once you start using them (please). I am excited to see what you prepare and use these for. As for future preparation, I can hardly think ahead to the next day, much less to a meal 4 weeks from now when the preservation of these lemons are ready for usage. I usually only remember preserved lemons are great when I need them that instant.

    • So funny! I figured I’d start with a trusted cookbook version. I’l certainly check back and let you know how they turn out. Thanks for commiserating about lack of foresight. I feel like it’s a fundamental flaw of my personality!

  3. Amanda–Thank you for the charming reference, but I had to chuckle looking at your photos. There’s something so compelling about the primary colors of a preserved lemon recipe that they become impossible to stop photographing–yes, yes, just one more, oh hell, maybe a couple more, what if I move them closer to the window, etc. Hahahahaha…. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one afflicted with the disease. 🙂 And I look forward to seeing what you do with them. Ken

    • Hilarious. I was debating about putting in all of the photos, but these things are just so stunning. They’re the perfect model. I saw that that was part of the draw for you to make the post too. I can’t stop looking at them either as they sit on my counter. I’m excited that I have something to look forward to next month! Your post inspired mine.

  4. this process has always intrigued me as well. And we sound a lot a like–I try to avoid trendy. AND I’m never prepared. Though I don’t see that changing anytime in the near future 😉 Great post, Amanda! Thinking I must try.

    • Thanks, Liz. I go so out of my way to avoid trends it’s like doing myself a disservice. As for preparedness, somehow we keep making do. I will say, I left the apartment today without a coat because I thought it was hot and now I’m freezing on the streets. Sigh.

    • You’re the third person who said they buy them. But all of you live abroad. It’s not so common here! I think I need to do a culinary tour of Europe.

    • Oh I think you’d be great at it. You also cook so many great entrees that I think you’d really make good use of them! Thanks as always for stopping by.

  5. randle

    Hi Amanda! I was just looking for a preserved lemon recipe after trying out some recipes in the Jerusalem cookbook. Any tips on finding unwaxed lemons? Or being able to tell if they’re unwaxed?

    • Hi Randle, That’s a great question! I had the same one myself. In my research I read that you can ask at the grocery store. Apparently if you buy organic ones, they may have wax that isn’t petroleum based which is safer for consumption. I don’t think the wax will harm you per se. Nigella Lawson says that it’s relatively easy to remove the wax coating from a citrus fruit. Put the fruit in a colander and pour over water from a recently boiled kettle or rinse the fruit under a hot running tap. Scrub the fruit all over with a stiff brush, such as a vegetable brush, under a cool running tap but try not to use a brush or scrubbing sponge that you use for dishes as this could cause some soap residue to get on to the fruit. Rinse the fruit thoroughly with cold water and leave to dry, or dry with paper towels…I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

      • randle

        Oh thanks, Amanda! That sounds pretty simple. I’ve started rinsing some fruits in vinegar water, so maybe that will work too. After I realized citrus was often waxed, I went through a phase of avoiding zest completely! I’ll give this a try though. PS, lovely photos.

  6. things that take longer than 3 hours to make can definitely be off-putting. i’m making a sourdough starter now and it’s kind of nervewracking! the wait time and the science behind it makes it more official than any other recipe i’ve ever made. (besides for croissants, maybe…)
    anyways, these look great. i’d love to give it a try sometime! what do you use preserved lemons in?

    • Omg that bread sounds amazing. It’s my fave. But i know what you mean about recipes that take a lot of waiting. You did croissants?! My hat goes off to you. You can use preserved lemons in lots of middle eastern dishes…a tagine, in rice, salads, over fish. I’ll definitely post when they’re ready 🙂

  7. I think you will be very happy that you made preserved lemons. I’ve been cooking with the ones I made last September and I am still here to talk about it. 🙂 I’ll look forward to a recipe when yours are ready.

    • I’m so jealous! You have to make this…and put lemon in all of your drinks. My brother used to have a lemon tree when he lived in Florida. Sigh…Thanks for dropping by.

  8. Looking good, Amanda! I’ve filled a few jars myself. It’s become a ritual every Winter, when Meyers lemons hit the stores. I look forward to seeing how you’re going to use yours. 🙂

  9. I think the beauty in presentation is very important (though I must say daily life catches up with me and I don’t do so in everything myself). Your presentation here is superb. I’ve been thinking about making preserved lemons (but didn’t know how). I love how yours are looking for now. I’ll come back here for the instructions when I do make them. I bet you it smells nice too. Un abrazo!

    • Thanks, Sofia. I’ve come to value presentation more as I’ve gotten older. I’ll definitely post a recipe if these things turn out as great as everyone says they are. I know what you mean about daily life catching up. Besitos!

  10. Your preserved lemons are beautiful. You can, indeed, do anything – and you always create beautiful things. I know you appreciate them, and the work you put into them, from your gorgeous blog. Thank you for the wonderful story and cooking lesson, too. Well done, Amanda, as always. Photos are just exceptional.

    • Thanks, Shanna. I think the blog had a lot to do with the change in the way I see the world. It has forced me to be more specific and to be attentive to detail and my whole view is starting to change. It’s kind of amazing. Thanks so much for your encouragement. You’re really been so amazingly supportive in general. Truly, thank you.

  11. What a wonderful post – and what exquisite photographs. So lovely. I keep saying I’ll preserve some lemons. I must get at it. Enjoyed reading about you – smiled that you have a hard time imagining the future and sometimes don’t even wear a coat out in the winter when it’s warm in your apartment. Lovely.

    • Thanks so much. I sometimes wonder if I’m telling people too much…like who really cares? But I find describing the inspiration behind the posts brings them to life a little bit more than just a recipe. And yes, yesterday it was 43 degrees out and raining…no coat, no umbrella b/c my old apartment was about 88 degrees because of the heat pipes. Hopefully this post and my next (pickled radishes) will help me learn that forethought is not that hard! Thanks as always for your thoughtful comments.

  12. So BEAUTIFUL! Those bright lemons against the muted grays and neutrals are stunning! These photos would look so great in a gray/white kitchen, to add those vibrant yellow flashes of color! I haven’t tried preserving lemons, and it really does seem like the hip thing to do, but I’d do it now to follow your lead, Amanda. You make it look like a beautiful and meditative ritual.

    • What a beautiful comment. I’m touched. I couldn’t stop taking photos of these lemons. I actually have no idea what these will taste like despite their popularity. We’ll see in a few weeks. Thanks again.

  13. Another beautiful post Amanda. Preserving seems like such a art. Especially something so lovely as lemons. I was looking at the preserved lemons at the market the other day and they are quite pricey for a jar. And there were only two lemons inside. I can’t wait to hear how it goes and see your posts.

    • Thanks so much, as always. I really did enjoy the process and I can’t wait to open these! I’ll definitely share how they turn out. I’ve never seen them in the market. So funny.

    • How great that you get such a supply! This and lemonade seen to be your best bets. This you can enjoy year round. Thanks for your comment.

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