Preserved lemons are a classic Moroccan condiment made with only two simple ingredients; similar to pickled onions or jalapeños, they add a depth of flavor to a variety of different recipe.
March Spotlight: Made in Morocco
Ever since I started this blog, I’ve been wanting to do a spotlight on my parents’ culture. The two, so very different cultures, that made up my household. So this year, I’m dedicating the month of March to my father’s national cuisine, starting with these preserved lemons.
My father was born and raised in Marrakech, Morocco. He was 18 when he graduated and moved away from home, later studying abroad in France, meeting my Mom (who was also studying abroad), and moving to the United States.
While their love story is one of my favorites and could last the entirety of this blog post, we are here to talk about food. Preserved lemons, specifically.
In the Moroccan culture, food is paramount. When you walk into my Grandma’s house, you are immediately greeted with an elaborate tray of mint tea and cookies, pastries, honey and cute little cubes of sugar to mix with your tea or coffee.
Before you’ve even had time to set down your luggage, talk of lunch and plans for dinner have already been made.
Food = Love
You see, food is how my family expresses love.
Even though my ability to speak Moroccan has always been limited, I’ve been communicating through food with my family since I was a little girl.
My aunt Aicha and I primarily get by in French (the second language in Morocco); I’m certainly not fluent, but the time I’ve spent in Morocco combined with the 4 years I took in high school definitely helped.
I remember during one of our visits after lunch one day I couldn’t stop snacking on these pickled peppers she had made. That afternoon after cleaning the dishes from lunch, she took me to the market and we bought a bunch of fresh lemons and peppers.
When we returned to my grandmother’s home, she showed me how to make these preserved lemons and pickled peppers in a matter of minutes.
Not only is this recipe extremely easy to make and a traditional Moroccan staple, it has a lot of sentimental value for me.
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Where Can You Use Preserved Lemons?
As a kid, I totally thought preserved lemons were strange. When my aunt taught me how to make them I was truly only in it for the pickled pepper recipe. But here I am, a 25 year old adult, loving these preserved lemons for the acquired taste that they have.
I still wouldn’t eat them plain, but there are a number of recipes I use them in to create amazing flavor. Here are some of my favorite uses:
- marinades for chicken (pictured below), fish, or veggies
- tagines (if you know any other Moroccan stews or tagines, these will probably go great in them!)
- salsas or sauces of any kind
In this Moroccan March Spotlight, you may notice that unlike traditional Moroccan cuisine, I use a lot of rice instead of bread. While this isn’t something I learned from my family, it is the most affordable and delicious substitute (in my opinion) and goes well with many of the Mediterranean ingredients.
You are welcome to substitute bread for rice in any of these recipes, and feel free to use that bread to soak up alllll the sauces 🙂
What You’ll Need:
Some jars for canning (you can find the ones I used here) and your 2 ingredients:
Salt + Lemons
Plus you’ll need some arm and shoulder strength for packing those babies in there.
Click on the Allergen Icons below to find more allergy friendly recipes like this one! This recipe does not contain the following allergens:
Moroccan Preserved Lemons
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 6 preserved lemons 1x
- Category: Canned
- Method: Canned
- Cuisine: Moroccan
- 6 lemons, scored into quarters
- 1 cup lemon juice (about 6 additional lemons)
- 1/2 cup salt
- Wash and scrub the lemons to remove any dirt from the skin. Score into quarters and rub each section with salt.
- Squeeze into your canning jars (I fit two lemons in each 4 oz jar) and pack with more salt. Fill with lemon juice, leaving about 1 inch of space for air at the top of the jar.
- Let sit in the fridge for a month or until the skin is soft and can be easily punctured with a butter knife. Use in sauces, marinades and with roasted dishes!
Keywords: preserved lemons, moroccan preserved lemons
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