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Preserved Lemons

By , from the Culinate Kitchen collection
Yield 2 jars


For visuals on how to make this North African condiment, check out the Simply Recipes how-to. These salty, sour preserves are excellent in tagines and stews, such as Moroccan Chicken. If you find a great deal on Meyer lemons, use them; otherwise, ordinary lemons will work just fine.


2 wide-mouth pint jam jars
10 lemons
~ Coarse sea salt


  1. Wash and dry the two jam jars and the 10 lemons.
  2. Hold each lemon on its end and cut it, lengthwise, into quarters, but don’t cut through the bottoms. Pour coarse sea salt into the cut lemons, making sure all the sides/quarters are coated with salt. Place 1 to 2 lemons in each jar, adding a third lemon if there’s room (you may need to prep more lemons).
  3. Once the two jars are stuffed with lemons, juice the remaining lemons. Pour enough lemon juice into each jar to cover the fruit.
  4. Set aside in the fridge for at least three weeks before using.


For a prettier effect in the glass, you can discard the seeds before salting.

This content is from the Culinate Kitchen collection.

There are 4 comments on this item
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25% recommend this recipe
1. by Paul on Dec 2, 2009 at 2:19 PM PST

In my experience, it will be more like three months than three weeks before the lemons are really ready. And if two lemons go in each jar, I bet you’ll need more than 6 lemons worth of juice to fill the jars. But regardless of the details, preserved lemon is well worth the minor effort. We always have some available in our fridge.
Preserved limes are also delightful.

2. by Tracy on Dec 2, 2009 at 8:14 PM PST

This always struck me as a wasteful method of preserving lemons. Juicing 6 lemons to preserve 2 doesn’t make much sense to me. It works equally well to pour boiling water over the salted lemons and leave them for a couple of weeks. I ensure there is a good tablespoon of salt in each lemon and throw in a couple of bay leaves and cardamon pods. For a quicker result, soak the lemons on water for couple of days before salting. I’m using up the last of last years lemons and this years are sitting in the pantry waiting their turn.

3. by Sarah Melamed on Dec 3, 2009 at 11:27 AM PST

Best way of making them is to salt the lemons so the juice is extracted without adding water or lemon juice. The juice so extracted can be used to preserve the next batch of lemons. I used brine last year and the flavor was lacking.

4. by Gwen on Feb 22, 2014 at 8:06 AM PST

I must say I agree with Sarah’s comment.
I have preserved lemons several times now and rarely need to add more than one extra lemon’s juice, usually less. While pressing the lemons into the jars their own juice is extracted. I too always try to keep some in the fridge. This year I will try to make extra jars and see if my basement is cool enough for them.

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