Preserved lemons are a delicious addition to your pantry. They are really easy to make and are a great way to preserve a bountiful supply of lemons. The tangy, salty flavor is perfect for balancing creamy dishes or adding a bit of an exotic flair to everyday meals.
This recipe is based on an Indian lemon pickle rather than the Moroccan-style salt-packed lemon. As a result, it’s not quite as salty. The reduced salt also allows the lemons to naturally ferment for a probiotic condiment.
7+ Ways To Serve Preserved Lemons
Preserved lemons are amazingly versatile. Like other flavor-packed condiments (olives, pickles, capers) they can be used to add a bit of zip to most dishes. The lemons are a salty-sour combination. Adding just a little bit will really bring out other flavors.
If you aren’t sure how to use your lemons, here are a few suggestions:
- Turn your preserved lemons into Indian spiced lemon pickles. These are a deliciously salty-sour pickle that is perfect for an Indian meal.
- Chicken dishes really benefit from the flavor of pickled lemons, like this Moroccan chicken tagine with lemon and olives.
- Dice them into a Greek salad, pasta salad, or quinoa salad.
- Thinly sliced lemons add a bit of zip to creamy pasta Alfredo or classic cheese sauce.
- Add them to a roasted vegetable pizza.
- Serve them as part of a middle eastern meal. I particularly enjoy them finely diced and served on top of hummus.
- Want to add a bit of zip to your carbs? They are a perfect garnish for rice, quinoa, or potatoes.
Salt-preserved lemons are really easy to make. The result is a probiotic pickle that will add a burst of flavor to most dishes. Try them with creamy pasta Alfredo, or on quinoa salad. See the section above for more serving suggestions.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 1 quart jar 1x
- Category: Condiment
- Method: Fermented
- Cuisine: Traditional
- Diet: Vegan
- 500 g (1 lb) lemons (around 4)
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric (optional)
- 2 Tbsp non-iodized salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (for finishing)
- Wash the lemons, place them in a small saucepan with the turmeric and cover with water. Slowly bring to a boil, and continue to boil for 8 minutes. Drain and allow the lemons to cool.
- Cut each lemon into slices or sections and remove the seeds. They will be quite juicy, so cut them over a bowl to catch all the lemon juice.
- Sprinkle the lemons with salt. Pack the lemons and their juice into a clean pint-sized jar with a tight-fitting lid. Place the jar in a dark location, a kitchen cupboard is perfect. Allow them to sit out at room temperature for 1 week, turning the jar over every day. They won’t bubble like other ferments, so it’s fine to use a tight-fitting lid.
- After fermenting, pour olive oil over the lemons to act as an oxygen barrier for long-term storage. Store in the fridge. The preserved lemons should last for several months and up to a year. Just be sure to use a clean utensil every time you take some out of the jar.
- The turmeric gives the lemons a bright yellow hue, however, it doesn’t add much flavor, so it is fine to leave it out.
- I use a standard 500 mL mason jar with a metal snap lid because it provides a good seal and doesn’t leak when I invert the jar. The metal won’t stop the fermentation process, but the acidity isn’t good for the metal, so I wouldn’t reuse the lid for canning.
- If you want to store your preserved lemons at room temperature that’s perfectly fine. Instead of turning the jar over to mix up the lemons, simply use a weight to keep the wedges from floating, and stash the jar in your fermentation larder. Once you start to use the lemons, add the oil and store them in the fridge. It’s the simplest long-term storage option for anyone with their own lemon tree!
- Feel free to use this recipe with Meyer lemons. I haven’t personally tried it (lemon trees and Meyer lemons are too rare in my part of the world), however, I’ve heard it’s delicious.