Preserved Lemons

One of the easiest ways to use up a glut of lemons is to make- preserved lemons! Who’d thunk it!

Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemons are used in a lot of North African and Indian cooking. The have an intense lemony flavour and though the flesh can be used in sauces etc it is really the peel you are after. So how to make them? Well you simply wash your lemons and quarter them. Layer the lemon quarters in a sterile jar with lots of salt (don’t use salt with iodine as it inhibits fermentation), pushing down to release the lemon juice. Fill the jar with lemons and salt, you can also add black peppercorns and bay leaves for extra flavour, making sure they are packed in tightly (without air bubbles like the large one you can see in my photo- eek!). If the lemons are not covered by their own salty juices you can add a little brine (salt water) to ensure they are covered. Screw on a lid and leave at room temperature to ferment. That’s it!

Leave for at least four weeks, the lemons will soften and the flavour will intensify over this time. When you’re ready to use them rinse the lemons, discard the flesh or reserve for a sauce or dressing, trim any white pith from the peel and slice finely. Delicious in so many recipes!

EDIT: If you are having trouble getting your lemons to stay under the juice/brine rustle up one of those little table-like plastic stands that are used to stop take-away pizza from sticking to the pizza box lid. Put the flat surface down on top of your lemons then screw on the lid. The lid will push on the little ‘legs’ and force the lemons under the liquid and keep them there! Simple but effective!



  1. This is where I hand over to my mother. Somehow her preserved lemons are so much better than mine even though I use her recipe. Hers have just the right amount of bite and are just the right consistency. We add them to tomato salsa to give it a secret kick.

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