You can buy jars of preserved lemons, but they are easy to prepare at home too, and make beautiful gifts that will keep for one year, chilled.
1/3 cup kosher salt, plus more if needed*
20 black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
4 bay leaves
* Kosher salt must be used, otherwise the preservation won’t work. It’s available at many grocery and specialty food stores.
Step 1: Add whole lemons to a large pot of boiling water and cook 5 minutes. Drain and let cool 5-10 minutes.
Step 2: Add 1 tbsp salt and all peppercorns to a 500-mL jar with tight-fitting lid.
Step 3: Quarter lemons and coat each quarter with salt. Add lemon quarters to jar, packing them fairly tightly. When jar is half full, add cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. Fill jar with remaining quarters and add lemon juice to cover. Place lid on jar and chill 5 days, gently turning jar once a day.
Step 4: After 5 days, fill to top with olive oil, replace lid and return to refrigerator.
Step 5: To use, remove and discard pulp, and mince softened peel. Add peel to dips, salads, soups and stews and oil mixture to dips, vinaigrettes and creamy sauces.
Makes 1 500-mL jar