I had been wanting to try a Moroccan tagine with preserved lemons for a while but I was not able to as I could not find the preserved lemons anywhere. When I saw that lemons were plentiful and cheap at the grocery stores I thought that it was finally time to just try to make my own lemon preserves. Luckily the preserved lemons turned out to be really easy to make. You pretty much just cut them open, salt them heavily, pack them in a jar and wait. While looking for recipes for the preserved lemons I came across a variety that included spices like cinnamon, cloves, star anise, etc. For my first batch I decided to just stick with the basic preserved lemons and not worry about which spices to use. Some recipes called for waiting up to 2 months for the lemons to do their thing but others said that 3 weeks would be enough. One rule of thumb that I came across was that they would be ready when the white pith was no longer white. I was a bit impatient and I decided that the pith was no longer white and cracked open one of the jars just after the three week mark and I made the tagine with preserved lemons. I quite liked the preserved lemons! The rind had softened up nicely and it had a really nice texture. Of course the preserved lemons retained their lemony good flavour. Now I am looking forward to enjoying my preserved lemons and I am also thinking that I am going to have to make a spiced batch to try as well.
- 8 lemons (washed and dried)
- 1/2 cup sea salt or kosher salt or canning salt
- Pour 2 tablespoon salt into the bottom of the jar.
- Cut the tip and the ends from the lemons exposing some of the white pith.
- Quarter the lemons from top to bottom stopping just before the end leaving the quarters attached.
- Generously sprinkle salt all over the inside of the lemons.
- Pack the lemons into a sterilized 1 quart jar so tight that the juice is squeezed from them and fills up the jar.
- Seal the jar and let sit at room temperature for three days, flipping every once in a while.
- Move the jar to the fridge and let sit for a minimum of three weeks, flipping every once in a while.
- Rinse the preserved lemons and remove the pulp before slicing or chopping the rind for use in your dish.
Here’s a link to a recipe using preserved lemons. I have made this sumerous times and we really like it.
Israeli Couscous with Roasted Butternut Squash and Preserved Lemons
Ciao Chow Linda says
I’m so glad you posted this. I’ve been wanting to try this for some time.Yours turned out great.
Thanks for this, your blog is looking great–I like the changes! And I haven’t had luck with this before, so I’ll try yours–this and the tagine, look fabulous!
Can’t wait to see all the things your make out of these!
Street Foodie says
I’ve been meaning to preserve some lemons for a while but have never got round to it, will have to give it a go!
Nina Timm says
I have lemons, I have jar, I have arecipes…nothing is stopping me now….I’m on my way to the kitchen!!
First time to ur blog. It looks awesome. Nice informative entry.
Thanks a lot for this beaty of a recipe, Kevin!!
I just wanted to ask if you preserved your lemons yourself! So, now I have some work to do,….!!!
I thought I’d share another recipe with you as well –
Culinary Cory says
Great idea. I wonder if preserved lemons would make for a unique twist on a lemon drink.
Those are so pretty! I like just looking at them.
Cookin' Canuck says
Thank you for this recipe! I often have difficulties finding preserved lemons as well, but it has never occurred to me to make my own.
Netts Nook says
Thanks for sharing they look great.
Thanks for the post – I am on week 3 (I think – now I can’t even remember) of making preserved lemons and was wondering how to tell when they were done.
I also wonder – how can you tell if they’ve gone bad? This whole preserving thing is making me nervous!
Wonderful, Kevin! This is something I have always wanted to make.
Nice,nice Kevin and a wonderful recipe!!! thanks Gloria
I have kept them for a year. If they have mold you can scrape it off if you are bold. Or just toss it. By then it’s lemon season again and you can make a new batch! I have one new (full jar) batch now and one from last year that is still good.
Jessica: thanks for the additional recipe!
La Table De Nana says
I recently made these also and will never be without!
My friend/neighbour used them for a lovely pepper salad that I have been making ever since.Yours look great!
Thanks for sharing the recipe with us! I can’t wait to see your spiced preserved lemons and what other things you do with them 🙂
unconfidential cook says
Thanks for this–the tangine looks fantastic!!! I can’t wait to see all the yummy things you’re going to make with them.
I love how you worded step 5.
Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says
I always have homemade preserved lemons in the fridge; they’re a great substitute for capers in many dishes. One thing I would recommend, tho, is to swap those metal lids for plastic ones (you can buy them in stores where canning jars are sold). The metal will corrode from the acid in the lemon juice, and will impart an off flavor to your lemons.
These look like a good thing to have on hand in your cupboard! yummy!
those sound just delicious! i definitely want to try them! when i was in morocco, i had the chicken and lemon tagine every night. it was my favorite!!! so delicious 🙂
Well I have to say, that is so easy and handy to know!
I just wanted to tell you that I love reading your food blogs! You always have yummy looking recipes. Thanks for your ideas. 🙂
I’m convinced. I’ve got to make some of these. My passion for lemons can stand it no longer.
I love to do fun things like this… and I suppose the preserved lemons can be used in so many ways. I’m going to look into some recipes!
I was really wanting to make the moroccan chicken with preserved lemons! I am so impressed that you actually preserved your own. Wow.
Tangled Noodle says
Thanks for this recipe! I haven’t tried looking for any preserved lemons at the store but this looks so easy to do at home.
Looks really good. Something different 🙂
Very cool! We easily find preserved lemons here in France at the marketplace and hubby makes both fish and chicken tagines with preserved lemons (and lemon-scented green olives, which is traditional). Yet we have so wanted to try preserving our own. This is definitely a must-try!
looks fantastic and I luv the bright cheery yellow hue.
sami lucas says
I’m looking forward to trying this.
[email protected] says
I saw something similar to preserved lemons (lemons confit) in the Tribeca Grill cookbook. Both are intriguing. Thanks for sharing.
Jeni Q says
The Joy of Cooking has a recipe for Greek Preserved Salted Lemons. I love this recipe, but find it to be a bit of a labor of love. Too much work for lazy me.
So I was *delighted* to discover a jar of preserved lemons at my local Middle Eastern store for the low, low price of $3.99. Now I can eat one whenever I want!!
Hi Culinary Cory
Just came across your reply this year.
I am a chinese from malaysia, lived in NZ, for the first time I have the chance to try preserved lemon when my bf made some.
I love to use it to make juice especially in summer, just cut small piece of the lemon, add honey and fresh lemon juice and top with ice cubes, voila, the best drink for summer. We have something similar back home hence it doesn't taste weird to me, but my bf doesn't like it at all. In addition, we drink a lot of it when we have sorethroat, but normally serve it warm. Hope that you get to see this reply.
Organic lemons says
Thank you very much for sharing this preserved lemons recipe. I too am impressed that make your own preserved lemons. One question I have is this, does it matter what kind of lemons you use? Lisbon lemons? Eureka lemons? Would Meyer lemons work?
Buckets of good cheer to you,
Megan I normally use lisbon or eureka lemons but the last batch I made with meyer lemons and they turned out quite nicely!
Hello – I live in Venezuela. We don't get the big yellow lemons, just "limones" which are really limes, smaller and green. Would they work? or do you think the taste would be too strong?
I have a question? don't these come out bitter?…..thanks!…and by the way you have great recipes!!!
JM: They would not be the same but I am sure that they would be good!
Anahi: You normally only use the rind/skin and not the pith or the brine so it is not bitter at all. It can be a bit salty but you can easily rinse the excess salt off leaving a super tender rind with an amazing lemon flavour.
I have been looking to try preserved lemons, so thanks for the recipe! I will probably try a smaller jar.
Do you need to use a special type of salt? like canning salt or kosher salt… or can you use iodized table salt.
schmooette: Sea salt, kosher or canning salt is best. Enjoy!
Renee Smith says
This looks great! When you say seal the jar, do you mean just putting the lid and ring on, or seal in a canner? How long should these stay preserved with this method? Thanks!
I just use a regular jam style jar without proper canning procedures and I store it in the fridge to use within a couple of months.