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Preserved Lemons and Baja Road Trip

Back in November, a lovely surprise, a box of Meyer lemons arrived from Arizona. I had never seen a Meyer lemon, the citrus hybrid of lemon and orange, though I knew immediately what they were. They are tiny bit sweeter, and in my very minimal experience, a lot more juicy than regular lemons. Some of those Meyers are now in a jar evolving into preserved lemons.

Preserved Lemons

To get in the mood for our upcoming trip to Mexico, I first made lemon margaritas. Then I experimented with lemon curd in a gluten-free crust, a recipe that needs more testing to perfect. A pot of lemon garlic soup was next—look for that recipe this coming year. The last 4 of those tangy juicy Meyer lemons are now preserving themselves. They rest in the back of our fridge in Park City, stuffed into a glass quart jar and saturated with kosher salt. I used Real Salt kosher salt. As you can see in the photo, the untreated minerals give the liquid a pink hue.

Preserving Lemons with Kisher Salt

From the day after Christmas until 2 days ago, my kitchen consisted of a white ice chest and a blue plastic box. We’ve been traveling way south, to Baja California Sur, to a little town on the Sea of Cortez named Los Barriles.

On the road, when Robbie, Carlosdog and I check into a hotel for the night, you’d think we were staying for a week. We haul in the ice chest and blue kitchen box, a dog bed, 2 suitcases, laptop computers and a bag with Robbie’s favorite pillows.

We carry an electric teakettle in the kitchen box so we can brew drip coffee and make a thermos of tea to drink in the truck. A lidded to-go bowl of granola, yogurt and sliced banana—that’s breakfast.

hummus wrap road trip lunch

We roll up a couple of wraps right there on top of the hotel room desk. A tortilla, hummus, avo, tomato and thin-sliced baby carrots—that’s lunch. For dinner we try out a local restaurant. When we travel we like to keep restaurant food to once a day–our hotel-made breakfast and lunch saves time, money and calories.

The traffic on the trans-peninsular highway was light, and the road in excellent shape; with blue skies every day, we enjoyed the long drive with no glitches. Viva Mexico!

Baja Road Trip trailer kitchen

Yesterday we moved into our Baja digs for the next 2 months. Our rented trailer at Playa Norte RV Park comes with an airy kitchen, a slide-out for the dining table and couch, a fenced yard, and a beach view. Follow my Instagram feed to see sunrise-over-water photos and more.

Have you come across recipes calling for preserved lemons, and either decided not to try the recipe or just leave out that ingredient? That would be me. Now I’m thinking of all the ways I can incorporate preserved lemons in food. What shall I make when we get back to Park City? I’d love to hear your suggestions. Be sure to write me in the comments below or on my Facebook page.

Since my goal was to use up what I had in my kitchen, my preserved lemons are Meyers. If you don’t have Meyer lemons, use regular lemons.

Trailer, Baja Road Trip, Los Barriles

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Preserving Lemons with Kosher Salt
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Preserved Lemons
Bits of chopped preserved lemon rind give a boost to quinoa, rice or other grains, and sautéed greens and vegetables. From Middle Eastern and Moroccan cuisines, preserved lemons made with kosher salt and whole lemons are super easy to make. Use them yourself, or put into smaller jars to give as gifts.
Ingredients
  • 4 to 6 lemons , preferably organic (see note)
  • ½ to ¾ cup kosher salt
  • Extra lemon juice , if needed
Instructions
  1. Use a clean jar. I immersed jar my in boiling water for a minute and turned it upside down on a clean towel. Use a new lid.
  2. Trim the ends off of the lemons. Slice them in quarters lengthwise, keeping one end intact. (see note)
  3. Pour kosher salt in the middle of the open lemons.
  4. Squeeze one of the salted lemons into the clean jar, pressing down to pack it in and release lemon juice. Add the other lemons, one at a time, pressing down until plenty of juice flows around the lemons. (I pressed using my French rolling pin without handles.)
  5. Be sure your lemons are covered with juice. If you need to, top with extra juice.
  6. Screw the lid on tightly and leave on the counter for a couple of days. Turn the jar upside down several times a day to allow the juice to flow around, Refrigerate until ready to use.
  7. Preserved lemons keep a long time, up to a year.
Recipe Notes
Some recipes say to cut the fruit completely in quarters, but I liked keeping the lemons intact at their bottom, which made a little nest to hold plenty of salt.

7 comments

  • Dennis Halloran

    Would Meyer lemons make good, tart marmalade? Reply · 4 January, 2015

    • Letty

      Meyer lemons would make fabulous marmalade and I bet you have access to them! Reply · 4 January, 2015

  • Teri Thomas

    Quoi? You hadn’t seen a Meyer lemon? How did you miss coming by my place for a post-ski winter brandy toddy all these years? Meyers from Whole Foods (by the bag) make the best! Reply · 5 January, 2015

    • letty

      I need to have a brandy toddy your way. Rain check for March? Reply · 5 January, 2015

  • Gorgeous photos and I’m sure these will be delicious. HAve a great time in Mexico! xo Reply · 5 January, 2015

  • […] out in Baja Mexico, my goal, call it a New Year’s resolution if you want, is to get a couple of Mexican sauces down […] Reply · 1 February, 2015

  • […] relish in the Chicory Soup drew me to this particular recipe–I happened to have a jar of preserved-in-salt lemons waiting in the corner of my fridge. Heidi calls for the Moroccan lemons in her Grated Cucumber […] Reply · 18 November, 2015

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