Pic of Preserved lemons

Preserved lemons

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Simple cooking & prep


Preserved lemons

15 min
Lots of north African and Middle Eastern recipes call for preserved lemons, which can be expensive to buy, but couldn't be simpler to make at home. They are easy to make in bulk and will last a year in the fridge and if you have a glut of lemons that need using up and decide to make a lot in one go. They also make great gifts. After the fermenting time, the harsh sharpness is replaced with an intense lemon flavour from the skin; use in recipes as called for.


  • lemons
  • sea salt
Image of Preserved lemons


Prep time: 15 min
  • Step 1

    Start by cutting ¾ of the way through the lemons lengthways, turning 90 degrees and repeating the cut so you have a cross section cut. Be careful not to cut all the way through the lemon. As a result, they should open like a flower. Prise each lemon open a little and spoon in a couple of teaspoons of sea salt, then close them back up again.
  • Step 2

    Into a clean sterilised jar, transfer as many of the salt-packed lemons as you can fit in and then firmly press down. This will juice the lemons and make sure there are no air gaps between them. You want the lemons to be completely submerged in the juices; if they are not submerged after compressing, top up with lemon juice.
  • Step 3

    Seal with a lid and leave in a cool dark place for 3-4 weeks, checking occasionally that they are still fully submerged.
  • Step 4

    After this time, the preserved lemons are ready to use. The skins should have darkened and completely softened. Place in the fridge where they will keep for a year.

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