How-to Make Preserved Lemons

by Beth @ Tasty Yummies

How to Make Preserved Lemons

How to Make Preserved Lemons

How-to Make Preserved Lemons

Along with the gluten-free cooking demo I hosted on Saturday night at Surfas, I had the pleasure of hosting a hands-on preserved lemons workshop this weekend at the Patchwork Show Edible Edition in Costa Mesa and it was so much fun! It was a packed house. My only regret is that I didn’t stop to take some photos of everyone working on their jars of preserved lemons. It was so fun for me to look out and see everyone getting their hands dirty and learning to do make something new. Not a single person there had ever made preserved lemons!

For those that were are the workshop, these are the instructions for what I taught you on Sunday, thanks again so much for coming. For those that couldn’t make it to the workshop, here is how you easy it is to make preserved lemons. It is really this simple.

How to Make Preserved Lemons
How to Make Preserved Lemons

I prefer to work with a 16-ounce or quart-sized wide-mouthed jar when I can, but they just aren’t always available at our house, I literally use jars for everything. So, these measurements are for one 12-ounce jar. Adjust your quantities as needed for different sized jars or multiples. Additionally it should be noted, the amount of salt and the number of lemons is just an approximation. It doesn’t have to be exact and it will depend on the size of your lemons.

By the way, you can also add spices to your preserved lemons such as, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves, coriander, dried peppers, cardamom, etc.

How to Make Preserved Lemons

In the event you have never heard of preserved lemons before, they are a popular Moroccan condiment. Great in traditional Moroccan dishes like tagines and stews, roasted chicken or steamed fish, but they are also amazing on grilled or steamed vegetables, grain salads, pasta dishes, salsa and dips, pizzas, salads, etc. You can really use them anywhere that lemon zest is called for, to get an extra zing. Check out the bottom of this post, where I share a bunch of great recipes utilizing these preserved lemons. I find Meyer lemons produce the best taste, but any lemon will work.

OK so some quick science fun-time for you guys on how the preserving actually works: The lemons are preserved not only by the salt and acidic lemon juice, but also by lacto- fermentation. That special ‘lactic acid bacteria’ enjoys the salty conditions and causes fermentation.  The bacteria produces acid (which helps preserve the lemons and tastes great) and carbon dioxide (which displaces the air in the jar above the lemons, also helping to preserve them).

Preserving them doesn’t affect all the lovely the vitamin C – that’s left for you to enjoy the benefits of.  The result is an unusual and particular flavour – still very lemony and aromatic, but also slightly fermenty, quite salty, less acidic and more rounded out.  [Source: Preserving Guidelines – Riverford Organic Farms, page 2]

How to Make Preserved Lemons

How to Make Preserved Lemons

Here are some great recipes utilizing preserved lemons:

Roasted Chicken With Preserved Lemons

Garam Masala and Preserved Lemon Hummus

Red Onion, Parsley, and Preserved Lemon Salad

Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette

Squash and Chickpea Stew with Preserved Lemons

Moroccan Lamb Stew with Preserved Lemons

Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemon and Spring Vegetable Risotto with Grilled Pernod Shrimp

Ethiopian Chickpea and Cauliflower Stew with Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemon Martini

Spicy Almond Basil Pesto with Preserved Lemon

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Nduja and Preserved Lemon

Potato Salad with Preserved Lemon

look for a couple of recipes here on Tasty Yummies in about 3 weeks (haha)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Farah October 9, 2013 at 2:05 pm

I really love your blog and you discuss great healthy topics!


2 Bonnie Sanders October 9, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Hi Beth! Met you Saturday at the Patchwork show. My husband and I talked with you at Kelly Brozyna’s booth and later attended your cooking demo at Surfas. We enjoyed your demo and the dessert. I know you said you were a bit nervous but you worked like a pro!! Nice to meet you, keep up the good work , I love your blog.


3 Jeanne @ Cooksister October 10, 2013 at 4:26 am

Love your preserved lemons – and thanks for the shout-out! 🙂


4 Alissa N (Girl Makes Food) November 25, 2013 at 8:20 am

I have been watching Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meal show recently, and he loves using preserved lemons, which has been making me want to use more preserved lemons. My husband was like “just make them yourself!” and I told him I didn’t think you can make them yourself because for some crazy reason I thought that you needed special lemons for that. Well now that I see this post I am so excited to actually make them myself!! If I wasn’t at work I think I would totally be in the kitchen right now making these. Thank you so much for this amazing post!!!!


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