Moroccan Preserved Lemons – A Moroccan/Middle Eastern Specialty
Moroccan preserved lemons are known in Morocco as l’hamd marakad. They are an essential Moroccan condiment and are used to enhance many Moroccan dishes as both a garnish and as a key ingredient.
- 5 (or more) fresh, washed lemons
- Fresh lemon juice from 2 (or more) lemons
- A clean glass jar barely large enough to accommodate the lemons
- ¼ to ½ cup of kosher salt
- Cut each lemon lengthwise into quarters (but be very careful not cut all the way through, about ¾ of the way down is enough, the quarters should still be attached at the base)
- Pack the crevices of the quartered lemons with lots of kosher salt, close the lemons and place them in the jar.
- The lemons should be packed very tightly. Compress the lemons as you add them to the jar to release their juices.
- Add the fresh lemon juice and a generous sprinkling of the salt.
- Cover the lemons tightly, and set aside in a cool, dark place.
- Every two or three days, open the jar and compress the lemons to release more juices. If you have room to add another lemon, you can. Do this for the first week, or until the lemons are submerged in juice.
- The lemons will be pickled and ready to use in about four to five weeks, once the rinds are very soft. You can continue to preserve them longer if you like.
- Once opened, transfer the jar to the refrigerator, where they should keep well for several months.
Use the rind, finely chopped, in salads. In tagines, stews and sauces, remove the seeds and use the quarters, with or without flesh.
Leaving the flesh will impart a stronger lemon flavor.