How to make Preserved Lemons

By Ms.Gourmet on June 22, 2010 9:15 PM
What's the one indispensable ingredient you simply can't do without in your kitchen? For me it's quite simply lemons as they have always played an integral role in my kitchen. Hence, I find that lemons are absolutely necessary and I just don't feel complete unless I have a bowl of fresh lemons sitting on the bakers stand.

In summer I'm constantly using lemons in salads, dips and dressings. Alternatively I'm using lemons in sweet tarts, crostata and syrupy cake, sorbet and not to forget my all time favourite - lemon ricotta cream.

Another way I love to use lemons is in savoury Moroccan dishes such as tagines. In these instances I tend to use preserved lemons. Hence, you can either go and buy yourself a fancy, overpriced jar of preserved lemons from a boutique gourmet food store or you could have a go at making some for yourself. All you need is several thin skinned, unwaxed lemons, some coarse rock salt and a sterilized glass jar.

lemons1.jpg Laymoun Hamid M'rakad - Preserved Lemons

Adapted from The Food of Morocco

Although you can remove the wax coating from store bought lemons with a scrubbing brush it is still difficult to fully remove it. Hence, for best results use unwaxed lemons.


4-5 unwaxed lemons, not too firm

Some coarse rock salt

A few black peppercorns

A couple of fresh bay leaves



1. Preheat the oven to 120C / 235F / Gas Mark ½. Wash the glass jar in some hot soapy water and then rinse it with hot water. Place the jar in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until it is fully dry.

2. Cut the lemons from the stem end into quarters almost to the base. Insert about a tablespoon of rock salt into each lemon, close it and then place it in the glass jar. Repeat until the jar is filled, sprinkling a tablespoon of salt between the layers. Pack the lemons into the jar as tightly as possible and add the bay leaves and peppercorns to the jar.

3. Add the juice of a lemon to the jar and fill it with slightly cooled, boiled water. Put the skin from the squeezed lemon half on top so that if any white film forms on top, the lemon skin can be discarded once the jar is opened.

4. Seal the jar tightly and store it in a cool dark place for 4 weeks, gently shaking the jar daily for the first week so to dissolve the rock salt. Lemons will keep for 6 months or more, but once the jar is opened, store it in the refrigerator.

5. To prepare for cooking remove a lemon with a clean fork. Separate the lemon into quarters and rinse under running water. Remove the pulp and discard. Rinse the rind, pat dry with some paper towel and use as directed in recipes.


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Recent Comments

  • jo: I made this lemons too- :) turned out great Thanks read more
  • Ms.Gourmet: You're so very welcome my dear x read more
  • Ms.Gourmet: What a fabulous gift idea Penny! read more
  • jo: thankyou once again you maltese kitchen goddess :) read more
  • christine: This is awesome Preserved Lemons. You see, we have this read more
  • E: Great- I've always wanted t know how to do this! read more
  • penny aka jeroxie: It is time of the year to make preserved lemons. read more
  • heidileon: precisely yesterday I was telling my hubs: - you know read more