FoodSauces and Condiments

Add A Tangy Kick With Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemons have a deep, salty, fermented flavour and are a great addition to risotto, chicken and fish dishes, or chopped into couscous with some harissa spice. In fact, they’d go beautifully with any dish where you’d normally use salt and lemons, giving life and brightness to the overall flavour.

Preserving lemons with salt originated in the Middle East, where it was predominantly used in tagines, salads and sauces. The lemons are quartered and then cured in coarse salt and its own juices. After curing, the rind softens and absorbs the flavours, become an essence of lemon and salt, with some juice still left in the flesh attached to the rind. When serving, you might want to wash the lemon portions to remove any excess salt and then pat dry before dicing, mincing or cutting into strips.

Preserved Lemons

Servings: 500ml   Time: 20 mins   Difficulty: Easy 


  • 4 unwaxed Meyer or Eureka lemons
  • 4 to 5 more lemons for juice
  • ¼ cup coarse sea salt
  • Lemon juice, enough to fill the jar


  1. Wash and dry the lemons
  2. Cut the 4 lemons lengthwise into quarters, stopping just before the bottom so that lemons stay intact
  3. Working over a bowl, sprinkle as much salt in between the quarters
  4. Close the quarters and place into a large mason jar, intact side down
  5. Repeat with the remaining lemons
  6. Pour the salt and lemon juice (remaining in the bowl) into the jar
  7. Sprinkle the rest of the salt into the jar and squeeze the juice of the rest of the lemons to fill the jar and to cover the lemons completely
  8. Seal the jar tightly and store in the refrigerator
  9. Give the jars a shake every day for 4 to 5 days
  10. Ready when glossy and soft, approximately 6 to 8 weeks
  11. Use the rind and the fleshy pulp to add zip to salads and meat dishes

Bright Idea

As an alternative, you could use olive oil instead of lemon juice to fill the jar and include some sliced chillies. The added bonus of this method is the oil is delicious drizzled over couscous or rice and even grilled lamb chops.

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