Preserved Lemons

Many Moroccan style recipes call for preserved lemons. They are whole fresh lemons that have been marinating in their own juice and packed in salt for a month. The flavor is tart and pleasantly bitter. Preserved lemons can be added to curries, stews, vinaigrette's, couscous, roast chicken and cream sauces.

Try to buy unwaxed, organic lemons for this recipe since you’ll be eating the lemon peel. Meyer lemons are generally preferred. They are smaller in size which makes them easier to pack in jars and sweeter in flavor. Regular lemons can be used as well, but they will have a more bitter taste. To use, be sure to give them a quick rinse beforehand to remove the salt. They can be finely chopped or sliced into thin strips.

This recipe is adapted from Living the Sweet Life in Paris, website by David Lebovitz. He also suggest adding to the mix, coriander seeds, a bay leaf, a dried chili, and a cinnamon stick if you want, or any combination.


Kosher or sea salt (1 tablespoon per lemon)
Coriander seeds (optional)
Bay leaf (optional)
A dried chili (optional)
Cinnamon stick (optional)

To prepare:

Wash and sterilize your jars. Scrub lemons with vegetable brush and dry them off.

Cut off any protruding stems. then starting from the other end, make a large cut lengthwise stopping about 1 inch from the bottom. Make another cut in a similar manner, keeping all sides attached at the base.

Pack coarse salt into the lemon where you have made the incisions. Use about 1 tablespoon of the salt per lemon.

Press lemons into jar, adding any extra spices or herbs. (I added bay leaf). Squish them down so that the juice is extracted and the lemon juice rises to the top of the jar. Fill up the jar with lemons. Make sure the top is covered with juice. Seal the jar and let sit on counter at room temperature.

Occasionally turn the jar upside down to shake things up. After 4 to 5 days, store in refrigerator. After 3 weeks rinds should be soft and are now ready.

To use rinse rinds and remove seeds, thinly slice.

Keep lemons in refrigerator up to 6 months.


  1. Interesting. I would never have thought of preserving them myself. Thanks for the tips.

    1. Thanks, I did not realize how easy it was to preserve until I did it myself.

  2. I've always wanted to try these! I heard about them a while back and was very intrigued. I love lemons, so I think I'd like these as well.

  3. Thanks, Yes, I can't wait myself to try this with chicken, I heard it's incredible.

  4. I love little slivers of preserved lemons in some of my legume dishes. I tried to make some a few years ago, but they were pretty bitter. I think it's because I didn't use Meyer lemons. I'm so glad you mention that in your post. I'm motivated to try again with Meyers now!


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