How to Preserve Lemons: Preserved Lemons 101

Shaina Olmanson | Food for My Family

Class is in session, Food Fanatics. Read on to learn how to preserve lemons and work on your preserved lemons today.

Lemons to Be Preserved

I ended up with 10 pounds of lemons recently without a plan to use them.

Naturally, I set aside some of the bruised ones for juicing (frozen into ice cubes for summer lemonade), and I immediately used a few in cooking, and then stirred up a jar of marmalade even. The best and the brightest, however, I had special plans for: A bit of salt preservation.

Preserved lemons are not something that you could find in my mom's pantry as I was growing up. However, I've come to love them and incorporate them into my everyday cooking in many of the same ways you'd use fresh lemons. These ones were just packed and preserved when they were at their freshest. You can try this with lemons straight off the tree if you are lucky enough to have one, or you can give limes a go, too.

Preserved Lemons Photo

Ways to Use Preserved Lemons:

  • Add to chicken marinades or slide under the skin when roasting a chicken.
  • Thinly slice and add to pasta dishes anywhere you might otherwise add lemon zest.
  • Tiny minced bits of lemon make a great addition to vinaigrettes for summer salads.
  • Mince or thinly slice these yellow beauties and add them to your Caprese pizza toppings.
  • Pasta, potato, grain, lentil salad hot or cold: Add bits of preserved lemons to all your summertime fare for picnics.
  • Go traditional and incorporate these lemons into a chicken tagine or a Moroccan stew.

Preserved Lemons Recipe

  10 Servings


  • 7-9 Lemons
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Kosher Salt


  1. Add 2 tablespoons of salt in a sterilized quart canning jar. Cut the stems and tips off the lemons. Turnt he lemons up on one end and slice into quarters, stopping about 1/2" from the bottom of the lemon, so that the lemon is sectioned but still in one piece. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt into the center of each lemon.
  2. Press the lemons into the jar, squishing to extract the juice as you go, pressing down on the bottom lemons from above each time a new lemon is added. Continue packing until the jar is packed full. The juice should cover the top of the lemons. Add extra lemon juice if necessary, and then top with a few tablespoons of salt.
  3. Cover the jar and place in the refrigerator. Agitate it and turn it occasionally so that the juice is getting distributed between all parts of the lemon. Allow it to rest, sealed, for three weeks before using.
  4. To use, rinse a lemon thoroughly and remove the flesh. Chop the rind and add to dishes that call for preserved lemons.  Store in the refrigerator and use within 5-6 months.


Keep lemons on hand for extra juicing.


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Shaina Olmanson

About Shaina

Shaina has four kids and a drive to see them eating well for the rest of their lives. Food for my Family chronicles her adventures in feeding them, and she shares Family Meals here too.