Preserved Lemons

If you have a lemon tree, like me you may wonder – what do I do with all of these lemons? Try making delicious Preserved Lemons!


Preserved lemons are the culinary gift to the world from Morocco. Useful in so many ways, they do not seem that familiar to many home cooks. YET. Here’s how I made them and some of the many ways to use them.

lemons, scrubbed

freshly squeezed lemon juice

kosher salt

wide-mouthed glass jars, run through the dishwasher and dried

Stand a lemon stem side down on a cutting board and cut down through it to almost the bottom, leaving it intact about 1/2” above the stem. Turn the lemon and make another cut down, again leaving 1/2” above the stem but essentially quartering the lemon. Hold the lemon over a bowl of salt and pack in as much salt as you can. Put the lemon in the jar and continue filling the jar with the lemons, pushing them in as much as you can. Fill the jar with lemon juice until full and cover with the lid. Put the jars in a dark place (pantry or cupboard) and turn the jar daily to redistribute the salt for one week. The lemons can be stored this way for about 4 months or up to about one year in the refrigerator.


Using Preserved Lemons:

Rinse the lemons under cool water before using. Many recipes call for using only the chopped rind, but I often like to use the pulp as well. Taste them before using and let your imagination go!

Grain Salads: add anywhere you would add lemon zest or juice

Salad Dressings or Sauces: use in dressings (rind and liquid) or sauces, including pesto

Grilled Fish or Meats: a perfect pairing – think salsa verde

Salsas and Dips: hummus, guacamole, salsas, tapanade

Vegetable Dishes: brightens almost every vegetable

Pasta Dishes: pasta and cous cous

Tagines and Stews: traditional

Drinks: bloody marys

Desserts: creatively in places that call for lemon


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