Preserved Lemon problem

I made the food52 recipe for Braised Moroccan Chicken & Olives – wonderful ingredients but I did not have a jar of preserved lemons. Instead, I used Mark Bittman’s recipe for same-day preserved lemons ( I used regular lemons (not organic or Meyer) and knowing they were waxed, followed a tip I’d read to first drop them in boiling water for a few minutes to dissolve the wax, then wipe them thoroughly before adding the salt, etc. Even so, they were dreadfully bitter and unfortunately ruined the dish. Does anyone know if it was definitely wax that caused this problem? (I’ve got a new batch of preserved lemons going using Paula Wolfert’s traditional 30-day recipe and Meyer lemons.) If so I guess the boiling water tip is not fool-proof. Thanks.

  • Posted by: Pegeen
  • February 11, 2012


Pegeen February 12, 2012
Thank you. Very helpful!
creamtea February 12, 2012
They really need time (i.e.) for the lemons to thoroughly absorb all the salt and spices. This turns the rind soft and silky and imparts a particular flavor that needs time to develop.
Pegeen February 12, 2012
Thanks, creamtea. Very helpful. I did also see a previous exchange between AntoniaJames and others about salt for preserved lemons, etc. I just don't want another dish to get ruined if my DIY lemons are not right...
creamtea February 12, 2012
sorry for the typo, I meant to say: "(I.e. the full month)"
pierino February 11, 2012
Now that Bittman has turned into this vegan dork I just don't trust him anymore. There are lemons and there are lemons. Meyer's happen to be a very sweet hybird (but what citrus isn't a hybrid these days?). If this is a DIY project, yes, go with a thick rind variety. And good luck.
Pegeen February 12, 2012
I'm sorry - I do not understand your answer. This is a hotline for problem-solving. I can't tell if you're recommending thick or thin-skinned lemons or what your actual recommendation is (ideally based on your experience?).
susan G. February 11, 2012
Just a side note -- reading about preserved lemons, I saw mention that the preferred lemons are thick skinned (since it's the skin that is usually required).
When I made them I used organic lemons because there's more than wax on those skins!
Pegeen February 12, 2012

Interesting: the imported preserved lemons I've seen in decent local gourmet stores (imported via the sexy shipyards of Newark, NJ) are all teeny and appear thin-skinned. Obviously they are entirely different fruits than what is available to us in NorthAm.
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