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Preserved Lemons

This recipe combines both salt and sugar, making these preserves versatile in many sweet and savory dishes. A special preserving process requires making a brine, which is not unlike pickling and takes a bit of time. After the ingredients are combined, they are left to loosen up and transform. Once you've preserved the lemons, it's the rind, not the juice or pulp, that you'll be using in most recipes. After a few weeks, you will have something that adds brilliance to dressings and these Moroccan dishes.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Refrigerator Time14 d
Total Time25 mins
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: Moroccan
Keyword: citrus, condiments, lemons, Moroccan
Servings: 1 quart jar


  • 6 organic lemons
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 cloves


  • Set a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.
  • Scrub the lemons well and place into boiling water for 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the lemons to an ice bath (a medium bowl filled with half ice and half cold water). Reserve 2 cups of the cooking liquid.
  • Mix the sugar, salt, coriander seeds, turmeric, and cloves in a small bowl.
  • Score the lemons by cutting each into quarters–but not all the way through to the other end. 
  • In a large bowl combine the lemons with the sugar, salt, and spices from the small bowl. Then place the lemons in a clean 1-quart Mason jar. Sprinkle with any remaining sugar-salt-spice mixture, pour the reserved cooking liquid in, and cover completely, pushing the lemons down with a wooden spoon to completely immerse them in the liquid. Cover with a lid and chill for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.


Chef's Note: Many recipes call for using only the rind of the preserved lemons and discarding the membrane, but I often use the whole lemon. When you remove a lemon from the brining liquid, be sure to push any seeds out with your fiingers. Chop or puree the whole preserved lemon and add to your preparation. 

A Taste of Ojai II Cookbook, Flavors of the Valley

A collection of recipes inspired by the bounty of local ingredients available in Ojai. Over 60+ recipes to help you create meals infused with the spirit of Ojai.


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