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Preserved Lemons | Moroccan Magic |

Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemons are easy to make. Many Moroccan and Middle Eastern recipes call for preserved Lemons. Lemons that have been pickled in salt and their own juices. Fragrant, strongly flavoured these lemons are well worth the wait. You can use a tiny bit each time stirred through mashed potato to serve with fish, mixed into rice for prawn curry, or in a tagine for authentic Moroccan flavour. Try placing a whole preserved lemon into the carcass when roasting a chicken. Sublime flavours! Experiment with adding spices to the lemons. Cardamom, vanilla, cloves, coriander seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, peppercorns.

Preserved Lemons

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By Marc Spendlove-Kruger Serves: 10
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: None

Preserved lemons, sold loose in the souks, are one of the indispensable ingredients of Moroccan cooking, used in fragrant lamb and vegetable tagines, recipes for chicken with lemons and olives , and salads.


  • 5 lemons
  • 1/4 cup salt, more if desired
  • Lemon Juice if needed



If you wish to soften the peel, soak the lemons in lukewarm water for 3 days, changing the water daily.


Quarter the lemons from the top to within 1/2 inch of the bottom, sprinkle salt on the exposed flesh, then reshape the fruit.


Place 1 tablespoon salt on the bottom of the mason jar.


Pack in the lemons and push them down, adding more salt, and the optional spices between layers.


Press the lemons down to release their juices and to make room for the remaining lemons. (If the juice released from the squashed fruit does not cover them, add freshly squeezed lemon juice — not chemically produced lemon juice and not water.)


Leave some air space before sealing the jar.


Let the lemons ripen in a warm place, shaking the jar each day to distribute the salt and juice.


Let ripen for 30 days.


To use, rinse the lemons, as needed, under running water, removing and discarding the pulp, if desired — and there is no need to refrigerate after opening.


Preserved lemons will keep up to a year, and the pickling juice can be used two or three times over the course of a year.


To make a success of this preserve everything must be scrupulously clean! To clean the jars, preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1. Wash the jars well in warm soapy water then rinse thoroughly under running water. Leave the jars and lids to dry, upside down, in the oven. (Or you can clean the jars by putting them through the hot cycle of a dishwasher.) Before using the lemons give them a good scrub under warm water and dry (this will remove any wax residue too.

You can use preserved lemons in any of these recipes:

Lamb and Apricot Tagine | Full of Eastern Promise |

Lemon Risotto with Prawns | Sicily on a Plate

Roast Chicken and Cabbage | Three Ingredient Magic |

Wine Matching

Moroccan inspired Lemons need a fresh Italian wine. We chose a Vivolo Pinot Grigio 2017. Taste this crisp and refreshing drop alongside a bland, mass-produced Italian Pinot Grigio and it seems like a different grape entirely. Closing note: Fantastic with food, but utterly gorgeous all on its lonesome. So go ahead and spoil yourself Available from Naked Wines.


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