Preserved Lemons

Add flavour to your dishes with fermented lemon pickles

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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.


Units Scale
  • 500 g (1 lb) lemons (around 4)
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp non-iodized salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (for finishing)


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.