Preserved Lemons

2010 Mar/Apr

Boiling the lemons first softens their skins, speeding up the preserving process, and allowing them to release more juice. If you want to spike your preserved lemons with aromatics, tuck a cinnamon stick, a few whole cloves, peppercorns, coriander seeds or a bay leaf (or any combination of these) into the jar before you pour in the lemon juice.


  • 1 dozen thin-skinned lemons (use Meyer lemons when you can get them, usually available at whole foods stores)
  • 1/2 c. coarse kosher salt
  • olive oil


Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the lemons and cook for 5 minutes, then remove from the pot with a slotted spoon. When cool enough to handle, cut 6 of the lemons lengthwise into quarters and toss them with the salt in a bowl. Cut the other 6 in half crosswise and squeeze the juice out into another bowl.

Pack the salted lemons into a glass jar, and dump in the excess salt. Pour over enough lemon juice to cover them. Seal the jar and store at room temperature for a week, turning the jar upside down each day and giving it a shake now and then. After a week, add a couple of tablespoons of oil to the jar and refrigerate. Preserved lemons will keep in the fridge for up to 4 months. (Or, really, almost forever. They are, after all, preserved.)