How to Make Preserved Lemons

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How to Make Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemons are an easy way to add fresh, lemony taste to a variety of dishes. Making them is easy, and they are a great addition to countless recipes.

Until recently, I had never heard of them and their many uses. It only takes a little time to get them ready to stuff into a mason jar. The hardest part is waiting for the juice and salt to permeate the rind, which is the part that is usually used in recipes that call for preserved lemons, although some recipes use the pulp as well.

To prep the lemons, use the Trimmer to cut about a quarter inch off the end of the lemon so it stands flat on the cutting board. Start to cut the lemon into quarters being careful not to cut all the way through. You want the lemon to remain intact so it creates a little cavern to hold the salt.

Using the Trimmer to cut the lemon.

The kitchen smelled awesome as I squeezed as many lemons as possible into the jar.

Putting the lemons in the jar.

The lemons will sit in the brine for several weeks before being ready to use. The process allows the lemons to ferment a bit, enhancing their aroma, while toning down the sharp acidity.

Preserved lemons are an easy and inexpensive way to add brightness and flavor to many foods. They can be added to salad dressings and marinades, chopped and added to rice, pasta or couscous, and sliced thin to use in fruit crisps to add a lemony zing. They can also be used in braised chicken or meat dishes, served with seafood or added to seafood dishes during cooking.

This recipe for Preserved Lemon Chicken and Pepper Kabobs is a perfect one to try them out on.

Preserved Lemon Chicken and Pepper Kabobs

If you’ve never used preserved lemons, they are not a delicate condiment. Because of their salty sourness, they are quite potent and are best used in small amounts sliced thin or diced in small pieces. Don’t use large pieces since they can be quite overwhelming and could actually ruin a recipe. In other words, a little goes a long way.

Preserved Lemons

Print Recipe


  • 8 lemons, rinsed and scrubbed clean
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt, plus 1-2 tablespoons for each lemon
  • 1 1-quart wide mouth Mason jar


  1. Pour 1/4 cup of kosher salt in the bottom of the jar.
  2. Cut off any stems on the lemons. Cut off 1/4-inch from the tip of the lemons. Cut the lemons into quarters but do not cut all the way through. Put 1-2 tablespoons of kosher salt in the center of each lemon.

  1. Place the lemons in the jar, squeezing in as many as possible. When the jar is full, top with additional salt and squeeze additional lemon juice to the top of the jar. Screw the top on tightly. Keep in a cool dry place and shake daily for the first two weeks. Allow the lemons to ferment another two weeks before using.
  2. To use the lemons, remove one from the jar and rinse it to remove the salt. Discard any seeds and remove the pulp. Most recipes call for using just the rind. However, there are some recipes that use the pulp as well.
  3. Once opened, preserved lemons can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one year.
  4. Experiment with adding spices to the jar with the lemons (cardamom, vanilla, cloves, coriander seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, peppercorns).

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