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Moroccan Preserved Lemons ©

May 19, 2013







Lemons, Lemons and more Lemons!

Lemons are a wonderful fruit, both in taste, color and shape. They evoke a sense of freshness, cleanliness, and are a truly Mediterranean fruit. In the more northern climbs, they can only be grown in a Conservatory and you will often see them grown in pots in England, where they are the pride and joy of the household. Here in Greece, they grow in fields in abundance and you can buy them cheaply by the kilo! Lemons are an essential part of flavoring in cooking.

I have been wanting to make these wonderful Moroccan Preserved Lemons for a long time, but some how never got around to it!

What inspired me, was the most delicious ‘Moroccan Chicken Green Olive and Preserved Lemon Tagine,’ made for me, by one of my former students, a couple of weeks ago and it was so good, I finally made up a couple of jars, so that I could make a few favorite Moroccan recipes during the summer.

They are dead easy to make and take a month in a sealed jar, to be ready for use.

Thank you Claire!




Maroccan Preserved Lemons  ©







Preparation Time: 10 minutes




12 Lemons ( 6 for preserving, 6 for lemon juice )

12 tbs Coarse Salt ( Hondro Alati)

Enough lemon juice to fill your jar


Special Equipment

Preserving jar



1. Choose unwaxed lemons, all around the same size.Wash and scrub lemons thoroughly.

2. Choose a wide jar with a ‘plastic lined top,’ so that there is no risk of the top rusting from the salt.( Otherwise line lid with double layer of grease-proof paper. Place large preserving jar in a saucepan and completely cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and boil for five minutes to sterilize jar.This is important!

3. Stand lemons ‘stalk end’ downwards and cut down into four quarters, just stopping short of the bottom, so that the quarters are held together. Standing your lemon on a plate, spoon into the center of each lemon, two heaped table spoons of coarse salt.

4. Pressing your lemons tightly shut, lower them into your jar and pack as tightly as possible. It takes a little trial and error, but ideally you want three to four lemons to fit tightly into your jar and then repeat a second layer, which will fill the jar to the rim, so there is not a lot of free space for air.

5. Place lid on tightly and I put mine in the fridge for four days.( The placing in the fridge is not necessary, but as it is already hot here, I wanted to be sure of success.)  During this time the lemons soften a little and their juices begin to come out.

6. After four days, open the jar and fill it to the top with lemon juice, so that the lemons are completely covered. As they tend to rise to the top when you add the lemon juice, having shrunk a little, I added a squeezed lemon half on top so that when I closed my lid the lemon half pushed the rest of the preserved lemons under the lemon juice!

7. Your lemons will be ready to use after one month. To use, remove the amount of preserved lemon required, scrape away the inside and rinse under running water to remove saltiness. Finely slice the peel and add to your Moroccan recipe.

These preserved lemons add a beautiful delicate taste to Moroccan cooking and any where else you choose to add them.

* If when opening your jar there is a little ‘white mold’ on the surface, this is nothing, like when you open marmalade, just remove it with a spoon. If the lemons are well under the lemon juice and the jar is filled to the top, this usually doesn’t happen.



Maroccan Preserved Lemons  ©

Sterilizing Jars: Place preserving jar in saucepan and completely cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and boil for five minutes.


Maroccan Preserved Lemons  ©

Choose evenly sized lemons which are not ‘waxed,’ wash and scrub with a brush.


Maroccan Preserved Lemons  ©

Stalk end downwards, cut lemons into quarters, cutting through just short of the bottom, so that the lemons quarters are held together.


Maroccan Preserved Lemons  ©

Once jar is ready, using suitable tongs, pour out water carefully,  from the inside of your jar and leave on drainer to cool.


Maroccan Preserved Lemons  ©

Place lemon quarters on plate.


Maroccan Preserved Lemons  ©

Fill each lemon with two heaped tablespoons of salt.


Moroccan Preserved Lemons  ©


Beautiful Lemons!


Maroccan Preserved Lemons  ©

Pack lemons into your jar as tightly as possible and sprinkle some salt finally over the top. As you can see the lemons come up

to the top of my jar. This is always important when preserving, so as to leave as little air in the jar as possible.

Maroccan Preserved Lemons  ©

Place in refrigerator for four days, you will note the lemon juice is already coming out of the lemons, due to the salt.


Maroccan Preserved Lemons  ©


After four days, remove lid and fill jar up completely with lemon juice. Replace lid tightly and return to fridge for a month.

Your lemons will then be ready. Remove the quantity you need, scrape away the soft inside, rinse well to remove saltiness and slice lemon peel finely.

These preserved lemons are a wonderful addition to any dish, especially Moroccan recipes and give a very delicate flavor.









2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2013 10:48 pm

    These are fabulous for tagine especially…


    • June 3, 2013 8:40 am

      In a couple of weeks time when they are ready I plan to post a tagine recipe. we love Moroccan food after visiting Morocco a few years ago.
      Thank you for your comment, I enjoy following your blog too and am happy to have discovered it!


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