Preserved Lemons

preserved lemons

Its about 85 degrees in my kitchen today, so the thought of turning on the oven or stove for a long period of time did not seem like a good plan given that it is supposed to be even hotter tomorrow. Luckily my husband finally broke down and got us a portable A/C for the bedroom, but even my usual “I drive a hybrid” excuse, couldn’t justify the ridiculous waste of energy of bringing it into the kitchen just so I could have a good post for today.  Instead, I decided to make preserved lemons and  eliminated the need to heat up my house further. Be prepared for more low or no-cook recipes for the next couple of days.

Preserved lemons are very popular in North African cuisine and were most likely introduced into Israeli cooking by the 18,000 Moroccan Jews who emigrated to Israel in ’48. They make a great addition to sauces, couscous and are most famously used in Chicken Tagine, so expect to see some recipes using them in about a month.

method after the jump

These could not be simpler to prepare. All you need are lemons (I prefer Meyer’s but any lemons will work), kosher salt and a sterilized jar. Some people do them whole, partially sliced or completely sliced but I choose to do a mix of partial and completely sliced to maximize the jar space.

Preserved Lemons

adapted from Jewish Cooking

1. Slice lemons. For partial slices cut lengthwise , keeping the base intact. I did mine in sixths.

2. Coat generously with kosher salt inside and out.

3. Squeeze and press lemons into the jar, so that the juice begins to fill the jar.

4. Let stand at room temperature for several days. If enough juice has not come out of the lemons to cover them, add more fresh sqeezed juice to the jar, then refrigerate for at least 3 weeks. Ever few days shake the jar a bit tmix up the brine.

5. When ready to use remove from jar, rinse the salt and use the peel for flavoring. They will keep in the fridge for about 6 months.


Filed under Cured and Pickled, Fruit and Vegtables, Israeli

5 responses to “Preserved Lemons

  1. ari


    firstly, this blog is pretty fantastic. secondly, i totally tried to preserve meyer lemons last week (that i flew to ny from my parent’s house, mind you) and completely failed. if only i had this recipe…

    made your challah for rosh last weekend and it was big hit @ the potluck i attended :)

    hope u are doing well!!
    xoxo ari

  2. Pingback: Israeli Couscous with Roasted Peppers and Tomatoes | Jewish Food in the Hands of Heathens

  3. Jenni

    Question my great-grandpa used to put rosemary & garlic in the jar too. Does this break Jewish food rules? any idea of how this might have come to be the family came in 1763 to what would be come Pennsylvania.

    • amiee

      That sounds delightful and would be great with chicken. It wouldn’t break any kashrut rules. All fruit, vegetables and herbs are considered parve and can be used with either meat or dairy. Including herbs with preserved lemons is common so my guess is rosemary and garlic are what your great grandpa had available.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s