PRESERVED. LEMONS. I am putting them in EVER-EE-THING. I bought my first jar in Trader Joes when I was still living in LA. I have to admit- it was because the jar was pretty. The fun flowy font against a backdrop of sunny lines of layered lemon slices- At $1.99, you would have made the same impulse buy. I brought them home, put them in my pantry, and got scared.
Yes, I was afraid of my jar of preserved lemons.
What ARE they? How do I used them? The rind is in there, do I eat that? Lemons are already lemony- won’t preserving them being too strong?
Heaven knows why I didn’t just take the darn jar out and try them, or if I was that big of a chicken (btw- they taste LOVELY with chicken) why I didn’t Google them, but in my pantry they sat.
And sat, and sat, and sat.
In fact, they sat in there so long that I ended tossing them in with my measuring cups and whisks and sent them to Ireland in my shipping container. Finally, one night 3 months ago, filled with bravado, I opened the jar. Friends and family, I haven’t looked BACK.
I will answer for you all the questions I asked…
What are they?
They way too many lemons for the size of the jar, crammed in with salt and spices and left to sit.
How do I use them?
You can use the whole thing, but my favorite part is the peel. I tend to use the flesh stirred into soups and stews and use the peel to toss in salads and pasta toppings and relishes.
The rind is in there- do I eat that?
YES! The rind is my favorite part.
Lemons are already lemony- won’t preserving them make them too strong?
Oh, friend. As that jar sits, those lemons develop a deep citrus flavor that will elevate your normal weeknight dishes to wow with the flick of a spoon. Exhibit A: Baked Chicken…
You will find them in two forms- preserved lemon paste (as found in Tescos), and preserved lemons (as found in Trader Joes). If you don’t live near a Trader Joes, you can always get them on Amazon or make them yourself (they are silly easy, and I’m not a huge DIYer. I’d rather pay someone else to do it for me). Here is a picture of the paste- not gorgeous, but will still give you great flavor for a stew or marinade.
If you want the lemon to be pretty or provide hits of flavor rather than to marry with the whole dish, go for the whole preserved lemons.
Here is a recipe for a preserved lemon relish that I’ve used variations of more times than I can count.
Give your weeknight dinner a sophisticated makeover with this Preserved Lemon Relish. Mix it into steamed veggies, dollop it on chicken, stir into potato salads. The possibilities are vast.
5 minTotal Time
- 1/2 preserved lemon, chopped
- 1/2 cup chives, chopped
- juice of one lemon
- Thoroughly mix all ingredients together.
Many a riff can be made from this recipe-
Add a garlic clove and 1/2 c olive oil to make a preserved lemon vinaigrette.
Half the chives and replace with mint for a great complement to lamb.