How To Make Moroccan Preserved Lemons

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I’d never been much of a salad eater. Eating greens kind of made me feel like a cow chewing on grass. Tasteless and bland. Yuck.

And then one day, a friend invited my husband I over to dinner and made the most amazing salad. It was crisp with just the right amount of crunch and the purest, most delightful lemon flavor I’ve ever tasted. These lemons tasted like everything a lemon should taste like, but without the sour punch of the raw fruit. What was this glorious madness in my mouth? Moroccan preserved lemons.

Got a lemon tree? Learn how to make Moroccan preserved lemons! This is a delicious way to keep your lemons usable for up to six months! | Canning | Preserving fruit | Housewarming Gift Idea | Mom Makes Joy

Keep in mind all this is coming from a person who doesn’t like salad. These preserved lemons were that good. So I had to go make some for myself and share them with you!

This specific recipe for Moroccan preserved lemons has been adapted from David Liebovitz, but there are actually a few different additional ingredients you could put in if you want, such as peppercorns and fennel seeds. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how I made these delicious lemons.

INGREDIENTS

Most recipes I checked out for preserved lemons did not give specific measurements as to how much of each ingredient to use, since the amount would depend on how many lemons you are preserving. I would recommend starting out with just a few (I made six) just in case you don’t find yourself eating them all during the 6 months in which they are good to eat. You will need 2-3 small dried chiles (your choice), 2 bay leaves, 6 organic lemons, kosher salt (about 7 tablespoons), about 1.5 tablespoons coriander seeds, and 2 cinnamon sticks:

Preserved Lemon Ingredients

HOW TO MAKE PRESERVED LEMONS

Start out by washing your lemons and scrubbing them with a vegetable brush. It is very important that you use organic lemons since when you eat these what you will be eating is the rind. Next, get slicing! Cut off the hard tip of the lemon that the stem would have been attached to, and from there, cut it in an X shape as if you were cutting the lemon into wedges. However, don’t cut the lemons all the way down. Stop about an inch or perhaps a little less away from the bottom of the lemon such that you have four wedges still attached together, like so:

Slicing lemons to stuff them with salt

From here, stuff your lemon wedges with a coarse salt. Lots of recipes will call for sea salt, but I used kosher salt. It doesn’t really matter as long as you do NOT use iodized “table” salt. This will leave them lemons with a weird chemically flavor over time. Ick! Try to stuff each lemon with about 1 Tablespoon of salt. It will seem like too much, but it is possible to get it all in there. This part makes a mess–I had salt all over the place!–so consider putting a few paper towels underneath where you are stuffing for easier cleanup.

Preserving lemons with salt: how to stuff them

After that, all you need to do is put the lemons in a clean jar; I used a quart-sized mason jar. In order to fit all six lemons I made, I had to pack them in there pretty good, squishing the lemons, which is just fine. For my six lemons and quart-sized jar, I then put in one large cinnamon stick, two dried chiles, about two tablespoons of coriander seeds and two bay leaves {one was on the small side}.

Preserved lemon stuffed with salt sitting in a mason jar

From here, every day for the next three or four days you will be pushing the lemons down into the jar, thereby squeezing out a bunch of the lemon juice. By the third or fourth day, your lemons should be covered in juice completely. If they’re not, add some fresh squeezed lemon juice from any additional lemons you have so that the rinds in the jar are totally covered. My lemons were particularly juicy and I didn’t need to add any more juice. They were pretty much covered in juice by the second day!

After those three or four days, let the lemons sit and soften for one month. That’s right–one month! {Hopefully I have that much patience!} After that, they will be ready to use and should be stored in the refrigerator for up to six months. To use a rind, scrape out the pulp and rinse it off to remove the salt. From there, you can dice up the rind finely and toss it in a salad, or use it for cooking.

I thought these looked lovely in the jar and would make for a great unique house-warming gift!

Finished product: preserved lemons with cinnamon, bay leaves, chili peppers, and corriander

Moroccan Preserved Lemons

  • 8-10 Organic Lemons ((organic is important as you eat the rind))
  • 1.5 tbsp Coriander
  • 5-6 Bay leaves
  • 4 Cinnamon sticks
  • 4-6 Chili peppers
  • 8-10 tbsp Kosher or Sea Salt
  • Quart Size Mason Jar
  1. Wash your lemons and cut an X into them as if you were going to slice it into four wedges. Do not cut all the way through (see photos in blog post)
  2. Stuff your cut lemon with 1 Tbsp kosher or sea salt and place it in the jar. Repeat until the jar is half full of lemons.
  3. Add your coriander, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and peppers.
  4. Repeat step 2 until your jar is as full of lemons as possible, pressing down firmly as you add more lemons. The lemons on the bottom will be excreting juices–this is okay.
  5. Make sure lemons are completely covered with lemon juice. Use extra lemons to squeeze juice into jar until this happens.
  6. Tighten your ring and lid around the mason jar. Allow lemons to sit in a cool dark place (at least out of direct sunlight) for 1 month. To use lemons, rinse them off (they will be a bit salty) and scrape out the pump. Chop the rind and use it in cooking or salads. After opening, store lemons in the fridge for up to 6 months.

Enjoyed this post on how to make preserved lemons? I would love to hear your thoughts! You can leave a comment below :)

Love,
Gabby

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