Traditional Preserved Lemons

Traditional Preserved Lemons
Preserved Lemons

Traditional Preserved Lemons
Yield: one quart jar

10 lemons, divided (quartered, or chunked to about that size)
½ cup pickling or canning salt, divided
4 bay leaves
4 cinnamon sticks (about 4 inches each)
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorn (optional)


  1. Prepare jar and lid. For this recipe, the jar needs to be sterilized prior to packing. Boil jar in water for 10 minutes and keep hot until ready to use.
  2. Wash 5 of the lemons in war water, scrubbing well to remove any dirt and wax, and dry well using paper towels. Cut a thin (1/8 inch) slice off the stem end. From the stem end, cut each lemon into quarters, without cutting through the bottom end and leaving it intact. Juice the remaining 5 lemons to measure 1 ½ cups juice.
  3. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon pickling salt over the bottom of sterilized jar. Working over a bowl, pack 1 heaping tablespoon salt into each lemon before placing in the jar, stem end up. When 3 lemons have been slated and packed, slip bay leaves and cinnamon sticks against side of the jar and add peppercorns, if using. Repeat with remaining lemons and salt. Cover with the remaining salt.
  4. Fill jar with lemon juice to within ½ inch of top of jar. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
  5. Place jar in a dark, cool cupboard for 2 weeks, shaking every day to distribute the salt. After 2 weeks, the lemons are ready to use. Remove the pulp and membrane, using only the peel. Rinse under water to remove excess salt and dry with paper towel. Store preserved lemons in the refrigerator.
  6. Store preserved lemons in a container with an airtight lid. Cover and refrigerate for up to 6 months.

Source: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, 2012