Preserved Lemons – Dani Valent

A Middle Eastern citrus preserve that is easy to make and wonderful in all kinds of dishes

I always have a jar of preserved lemons in the fridge and, hopefully, a couple more maturing in the pantry. If you see lemons at a good price or come upon a laden lemon tree, this is a great way to make the most of them.

Preserved lemons can be used in so many ways. Add one or two to a roast, tagine or braise. Thinly slice the peel and add to salads. Use them in a marinade. Top grilled meats or fish with slivers of preserved lemon. Toss tiny dice through any type of rice or grain pilaf. See below for more ideas.

Once you’ve got your lemons jarred, they need to mature for at least a month. If you can’t wait, purchase some to be going on with from Middle Eastern grocers or fine food delis.

Makes: as much as you like!
Time: 10 minutes, then 1 month to mature


  • Lemons
  • Salt


1. Cut lemons into quarters and pack into a perfectly clean jar, pressing down to extract juice, and layering with salt as you go.

2. Top up with extra lemon juice, if necessary, to ensure lemons are submerged.

3. Seal jar and place in a cool, dark place for at least four weeks. When using preserved lemons, discard flesh and pips and use the skin.


  • Use unwaxed lemons if you can find them, or wash waxed lemons in hot water before preserving.
  • I use flaked salt or kosher salt but any salt is fine.
  • Make sure your jars and lids are very clean. Run them through a dishwasher or wash them in hot, soapy water, then dry in a low oven.
  • Preserved lemons keep indefinitely. Don’t worry if they start to look jellied; they are still fine to use.


  • Use limes instead of lemons to make preserved limes. They are delicious too! You can even use a mix of lemon and lime in the same jar.
  • Add peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, star anise or chilli to flavour your preserved lemons.

How Do I Use Preserved Lemons?

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