The all-weather fruit

Preserved lemons

Lemons may be associated with summertime treats like lemonade and sorbet, but we shouldn’t overlook their contribution to winter foods, notes Judith Elen of The Australian. Lemons go well with so many types of food that they remain popular year round, and in the global marketplace you can usually find fresh lemons in any season. But even though it may not seem necessary to preserve lemons, Elen thinks you should. She describes how preserved lemons “packed in salt or oil and dried lemon zest, quite different from their fresh forebears, are potent additions to robust meats. They’re even fun to concoct from scratch on a chilly weekend afternoon in the dead of winter.”

Also included in the article is a fascinating history lesson about the origins of this popular citrus fruit. Lemons can be traced to the Himalayan region of the India thousands of years ago. But their genetic roots go back farther–and farther afield. Recent DNA analysis “seems to identify finger limes among citrus’s earliest progenitors,” with the origination point being in Australia. Researchers believe that “in the time of Pangaea (200 million-plus years ago), Citrus glauca, whose variants include finger limes, developed in what is now Australia.”

Here are some popular recipes with preserved lemons from the EYB Library. Let us know your favorites in the comments section.

Bluefish (or swordfish) with preserved lemons by Dorie Greenspan
Preserved lemon, pork and Parmesan meatballs with herb salad from Cuisine Magazine
Chicken with chickpeas, prunes and preserved lemon, from Food and Travel Magazine
Preserved lemon & chickpea pasta with parsley pesto  from The Year in Food

Photo of Preserved lemons (Citrons confits) from Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous by Joan Nathan´╗┐



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  • Jane  on  July 29, 2014

    Thanks for this prompt Darcie. I've been meaning to replenish my preserved lemons stash which I had let run down. My favorite uses are Ottolenghi's meatballs with broad/fava beans and lemon and Molly Steven's (from Braising) Moroccan chicken with green olives and preserved lemon. I'm going to check out that swordfish recipe of Dorie Greenspan's.

  • hillsboroks  on  July 29, 2014

    I have always wondered how long you can keep preserved lemons in the refrigerator. I have tried to find the answer online but the results were all over the board and left me more confused. I currently have a jar made for me by a friend that I forgot about in the back of the refrigerator. They are about 18 months old and still look good but I have been hesitant to use them.

  • Rinshin  on  July 29, 2014

    I have heard that you can keep preserved lemons in the refrigerator forever as long as the lemons are covered in liquid. The first time I made it the instructions given to me said keep in in the cool closet or basement – no need for refrigeration. Well, that did not work for me. They became moldy on top (yuck!). Now I refrigerate them and mine is about 2 yrs old and they taste and looks fine.

  • Rinshin  on  July 29, 2014

    I don't use preserved lemons much, but I use Meyer lemons that fruits all year long in our yard for making ponzu sauce few times a year, keep rinds frozen for making udon and soba stock, etc and frozen grated rinds for making other recipes. My husband uses half a lemon every day for his water so I normally have a big stash of frozen rinds.

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