Preserved Lemons

When lemons are salted and left to cure in a jar, the rind develops a rich, rounded flavor that adds a marvelously distinctive Middle-Eastern flavor to dishes.
Homemade Preserved Lemons in a Glass Jar

Homemade Preserved Lemons in a Glass Jar

When lemons are salted and left to cure in a jar, the rind develops a rich, rounded flavor that adds a distinctive Middle-Eastern flavor to dishes. Foodies will appreciate this gift that will add an exotic touch to their culinary creations.

Photo by: DK - A Greener Christmas © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - A Greener Christmas, 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited

A versatile addition to savory recipes, preserved lemon rind has many uses. Chop the rind and rub it with garlic over a chicken or leg of lamb before roasting, mix it with roasted onions, garlic, and pumpkin pieces, some cooked couscous, raisins, pine nuts and a stick of cinnamon, or add it to slow-cooked casserole dishes.


5 unwaxed organic lemons
1 lb. 1-1/2 oz. coarse sea salt
2 cinnamon sticks (optional)
1 Tbsp. coriander seeds (optional)
1 Tbsp. whole cumin seeds (optional)
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. cloves (optional)
3 dried red chilies (optional)
dried bay leaves
enough freshly squeezed lemon juice to cover the contents of the jar

Tip: These quantities are approximate but should fill a 3.5-cup (1-liter) jar. Adjust the quantities accordingly.


1. Sterilize the preserving jar by boiling it in a large saucepan covered with water for 15 minutes. Dry the jar thoroughly before use. Wash lemons to remove any dirt.

2. Cut two-thirds of the way through each lemon with a sharp knife, then again at right angles to the first cut.

3. Open out the top of each lemon slightly, fill the cuts with salt and press the top of each lemon together again. Put a couple of lemons into the jar and pack the salt in around them.

4. Fill the jar with the salt, lemons, spices and bay leaves. Cover with lemon juice and seal. Leave for at least two months while the salt slowly dissolves to create a clear liquid.

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