Preserved Lemons For North African Dishes

For this recipe for preserved lemons, you will need lemons that are nice and soft. If you have not picked them off your own tree then remember to scrub the wax off the lemons! Preserved lemons are a staple ingredient in Moroccan food, but you are not limited to using them only in your tagine. They can be used in a variety of dishes, and your imagination is your only boundary. I make sure that when the lemon tree is being generous I bottle as many as I can. Many North African dishes contain preserved lemons but their use is not limited to this cuisine.

Preserved Lemons
Preserved Lemons
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Preserved Lemons


  • 6 lemons
  • 5 tablespoons coarse salt
  • optional extras: paprika black peppercorns, vanilla


  • cut 5 lemons from the stem end into quarters almost to the base
  • insert 1 tablespoon rock salt into each lemon and close it up
  • place the lemons into a wide mouthed sterilized glass jar
  • cut the last lemon in half and add the juice to the jar and then top with boiling water
  • add any or all or none of your optional ingredients!
  • wash the peel of one half and place on top of the lemons you are preserving
  • seal and store in a cool dark place for 4 weeks - for the first week you must gently shake the jar once a day
  • when you open the jar for the first time discard the lemon peel
  • keeps for 6 months - refrigerate once opened

how to use in your cooking:

  • remove a lemon from the jar with a fork
  • separate the lemon into quarters and rinse under cold running water
  • remove and discard the pulp - it has a bitter taste so if you do want to use it, use sparingly
  • rinse the rind, pat dry and slice finely

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

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12 thoughts on “Preserved Lemons For North African Dishes

  1. thanks for linking this in to Food on Friday: Lemons and limes. Great thing to know how to do. I haven’t preserved lemons yet but can see I will be in the near future. Have a great week.

    Ps I am now following you by email. It would be super if you followed Carole’s Chatter back.

  2. Pingback: My Catholic Kitchen » Preserved Lemons and SRC
  3. Pingback: Preserved Lemon And Pickled Garlic Gremolata

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