Make Your Own Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemons, salt-cured lemon rinds, are a key ingredient in many Moroccan dishes, but they also provide a wonderful hit of flavor in many other dishes as well.  We sometimes take a few preserved lemon quarters, some confited garlic (future Cool Tip) and some chipotle in adobo, pulverize them together in a food processor, and use that as a wet rub on a pork loin roast that we finish on the grill.

Preserved lemons are available in speciality food stores, but with a little planning (they take a while to get to cure) you can easily make them yourself.  Here's how...

You'll need 15 lemons, 6 T kosher salt, 3 cinnamon sticks, and a fairly large glass jar.

Halve 12 thick-skinned lemons and juice them, reserving the juice.  Then halve them again so that you have 48 quarters.
Sprinkle salt in the bottom of the jar, then add 8 lemon quarters. Sprinkle with salt and add 1/2 cinnamon stick.  Repeat this 5 more times with the remaining lemon rinds, salt and cinnamon sticks.  Press this all down to fit in as tightly as possible.
Now pour in the reserved lemon juice, plus the juice from the remaining 3 lemons.  If this is not enough to cover the lemons, juice more lemons until you have enough juice to cover.  Close the jars.
Store the jars in the refrigerator and turn over every day for 2 weeks.

To use, remove from the jar, remove the membrames clinging to the rind, rinse if you want, and cut up according to your recipe.