Author Topic: North African - Preserved Lemons - Hamad M'Rakad / with Variations  (Read 2482 times)

Olga Drozd

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Preserved Lemons - Hamad M'Rakad - North African

They will take about 4 weeks to mature and can last a year.  When they are ready to use, the pulp is scooped out and thrown away--only the skin is eaten.  You can use small limes with thin skins, or ordinary lemons with thick ones.  There are three common ways of making them.


In this method, which is considered most prestigious and gives the best results, no water is used.  You will need 1/3 cup salt for 1 pound lemons.  This works out about 4 Tablespoons salt for 4 lemons.

4 lemons (choose them with thick skins)
4 Tablespoons sea salt
Juice of 4 more lemons, or more

Wash and scrub the lemons.  The classic Moroccan way is to cut each lemon in quarters but not right through, so that the pieces are still attached at the stem end, and to stuff each with plenty of salt.  Put them in a glass jar, pressing them down so that they are squashed together, and close the jar.  Leave for 3 to 4 days, by which time the lemons will have released some of their juices and the skins will have softened a little.  Press them down as much as you can and add fresh lemon juice to cover them entirely.  Close the jar and leave in a cool place for at least a month, after which they should be ready.  The longer they are left, the better the flavor.  (If a piece of lemon is not covered, it develops a white mold which is harmless and just needs to be washed off.)

Before using, rinse to get rid of the salt and scoop out and discard the pulp.


This is the same procedure as above, but instead of adding lemon juice, cover the lemons with brine made by adding 2 Tablespoons salt to warm water.  Lemons prepared this way take longer to mature.  Some people pour a little oil on top as a protective film.


This quick, unorthodox method gives very good results in 4 days, and the lemons last for months.

With a sharp knife make 8 fine--superficial, not deep--incisions into the lemon skin, from one end of the lemon to the other.  Put the lemons in a large pan with salted water (about 8 Tablespoons salt for 8 lemons) to cover.  Put a smaller lid on top of them to keep them down as they float, and boil for about 25 minutes, or until the peels are very soft.  When cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh, pack the skins in a glass jar, and cover with brine or vegetable oil.  They are ready to use after 4 days, or even sooner.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2015, 12:21:00 PM by Olga Drozd »