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Moroccan Preserved Lemons

As promised, here is how to make this Moroccan kitchen staple. I made my preserved lemons 4 weeks ago and finally was able to try them in a recipe. I have to say I was not disappointed! The bitterness was gone, but all the lemony flavor remained. These delicious lemons can be used in dishes, dressings, sauces and salads. Best of all, they are incredibly easy to make. The hardest part is waiting a month to eat them.

These lemons are essentially pickled in salt and allowed to ferment in their own juices. The whole lemon is preserved, but typically only the peel is eaten.

Use Meyer lemons. They tend to be less sour and contain more juice. Also, buy organic if you can. Wash and dry them well to remove any dirt and pesticides.

You need a pint sized glass jar and lid. Either reuse an old jar or buy one that is used for canning. Clean the jar and lid well, then boil in water for 10 minutes to ensure it is sterile. (Tip: save about 1 cup of the boiled water in case you do not have enough lemon juice to fill your jar).

Now the prep is all done and it’s time to make this delicious North African condiment.

Use coarse sea salt that does NOT have an anti-caking agent in it. Pour 1 tsp. of salt in the bottom of your sterilized jar.

Slice the tips off the top and bottom of the lemons.


Slice into quarters, leaving the bottom 1/2 inch intact. In other words, slice only 3/4 of the way through.


Place 1 tbsp. sea salt inside the lemon.


Press the lemon into the jar and cover with another tbsp. of salt. Repeat until the jar is full. You want them stuffed in tightly.


Juice the remaining lemons and add the juice to the jar. If the jar is not full, add boiled (then cooled) water to fill within 1/4 inch of the top of the jar.

Place on lid and invert jar several times to distribute the salt.

Leave on the counter for three days, inverting several times each day.

After three days, place in the fridge. Invert every few days.

After one month the lemons will be ready to eat.

Moroccan Preserved Lemons
  • 6 Meyer lemons
  • coarse sea salt ensure there are no additives
  1. Clean and boil a pint sized glass jar and lid. Set aside to cool. Reserved 1 cup of the boiled water.

  2. Wash and dry the lemons to remove any dirt or pesticides.

  3. Add 1 tsp coarse sea salt to the bottom of the sterilized glass jar.

  4. Cut the tips off of the lemons.

  5. Cut lemons into quarters, but only cut 3/4 of the way through, leaving the bottom intact.

  6. Open the lemon and place 1 tbsp. sea salt inside.

  7. Press lemon into the jar. Add another 1tbsp sea salt on top. Repeat until jar is full.

  8. Juice remaining lemons and add juice to the jar. If it is not full to the top, add the reserved boiled water until within 1/4 inch of the top of the jar.

  9. Place sterilized lid on jar. Invert to redistribute the salt. 

  10. Leave on your kitchen counter for three days. Invert several times a day.

  11. Move jar to the fridge for a month. Invert every few days. 

  12. After a month, the lemons will be ready to eat. Only the peels are traditionally used.

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