Preserved Lemons

I decided to undertake this one due to necessity. I have gotten into the habit of buying a bag of lemons every so often and juicing them all. I then freeze the juice in an ice tray then transfer the cubes of lemon juice to a bag to keep in the freezer and use as necessary.

The problem is my last batch is now four months old and showing signs of freezer burn. Worse, I had bought a few lemons for another recipe and they were looking rough as well.

So when I happened across a recipe for preserved lemons in the new biography/cookbook of Paula Wolfert, Unforgettable, I had my solution. Basically, this method employs lactic acid fermentation to preserve the lemons and draw out the unique tangy flavor salt-reserved lemons boast.

Once I complete the preservation process, I'll start looking for recipes to use them on.

  • 5 large lemons
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1.5 cups lemon juice
  • 1 quart glass jar


Scrub the lemons and soften them by rolling them with your hands. Quarter the lemons, place them in a bowl and sprinkle half the salt on them and mix well. (Most recipes suggest cutting them in quarters but leave them attached on one end).

Place half of remaining salt in the glass jar and place the lemon slices and all the salt from the bowl on top. Push the lemons down with a wooden utensil so they release their juices but the skins don't break.

Pour in the remaining salt then the additional lemon juice so the lemons are completely submerged. Seal and locate in a warm place for 30 days to allow the fermentation process to take place. Turn upside down every few days to distribute the salt and juice.

After a month or so they should be ready to use but you can let them ferment for up to three months or so. After first use, transfer to a refrigerator where they can keep up to one year.


Benlafquih, Christine, "How To Make Moroccan Preserved Lemons," The Spruce, February 5, 2017.

Chang, T. Susan, "Preserved Lemons: Older, Wiser And Full of Flavor," NPR Kitchen Window, April 10, 2013.

Meredith, Leda, "Lacto-fermentation - How It Works," The Spruce, May 2, 2017

Schumacher, Clara Ines, "Why Preserved Lemons Belong on Your Shelf," Serious Eats, April 2016.

Wolfert, Paula, "Preserved Lemons," Epicurious, Feburary 2005.