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Quick-Preserved Lemon

Quick-Preserved Lemon


  • 1 large lemon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

Recipe Preparation

  • Combine all ingredients in small skillet. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve salt. Cover; reduce heat to low. Simmer until lemon slices are almost tender (peel will look translucent), about 10 minutes. Cool. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 week ahead. Transfer to bowl. Cover; chill.

Recipe by L Albatros Cleveland Ohio

Nutritional Content

One slice contains: Calories (kcal) 3.8 %Calories from Fat 0.0 Fat (g) 0 Saturated Fat (g) 0 Cholesterol (mg) 0 Carbohydrates (g) 1.3 Dietary Fiber (g) 0.1 Total Sugars (g) 0.3 Net Carbs (g) 1.2 Protein (g) 0.0 Sodium (mg) 194.3Reviews Section

Quick Preserved Lemons

The following post is part of my weekly cooking at home series. For background on why cooking at home is a goal of mine, and why I think it is an important part of Making Life Happen, please read my blog on why I started cooking from scratch: No Longer The Queen of Processed Food

This recipe is from Alton Brown: EveryDayCook. Makes 1 pint.

4 medium lemons, scrubbed and dried

  1. Remove the top and tail from each lemon.
  2. Slice each lemon into 8 wedges, removing any seeds as you go. Reserve as much of the juice as possible. Without fail, I somehow manage to always squirt lemon juice in my eye. Wear goggles if y0u must!
  3. Layer the sliced lemons in a clean widemouthed jar­­ – sprinkling with the salt at each layer. Don’t be shy with the salt – you’ll rinse it off later. Pack the jar as tightly as possible. I found using a soup spoon helped to mash the lemons in tightly. Alton said to not be shy with the salt, so I used a little more that what he recommended.
  4. Top the jar with any remaining lemon juice, leaving about ¼ inch of head space in the jar.
  5. Stash in the refrigerator for 4 days, then flip the bottle over and age another 4 days before sampling. The peel should be nice and soft. This can be used immediately or kept in the fridge for up to 3 months.
  6. Rinse the lemons before eating. Preserved lemons are a welcome addition to creamy pasta dishes, grain salads, braises, grilled fish… heck, even vanilla ice cream. Be aware that many recipes call for the pulp to be discarded because most of the flavor is in the peel itself. Yes you read that right. I had to look it up to be sure I understood what Alton was saying. You will be eating the peel, not the fruit inside.

If this is a first for you too, don’t be afraid! It is so full of flavor… mostly salt, but hey, still flavor! Has anyone else made lemon preserves before? Has anyone eaten a dish with the lemon peels in it? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

I will be using this dish for a couple other recipes that I will share with you all.

Brown, Alton. EveryDayCooking. Ballantine Books, New York. 2016.

I desperately needed some Preserved Lemon when I made my Turkey B’Steeya the other day – and had none on hand, nor did I have a clue as to where I could find some. A search ensued, on the internet, because I knew from time to time I’d seen “quick” preserved lemon recipes.

Of course, quick is relative here, but rather than waiting for weeks for the salt to work on the lemons in the time honored method, the quick version relies on the lemons going into a very slow oven for two to three hours. Luckily, this is mostly hands-off time, just a stir now and then.

I can be a bit of a purist and admittedly a bit of a food snob from time to time and frankly, I like a jar of preserved lemons on my back counter, working away. I really couldn’t tell the difference, though!

I did look at a lot of different recipes and came up with a basic formula: A tablespoon of salt per lemon. Also, thin skinned lemons are better, if you can find them, and the amount of time varies with how the lemons are cut. Chopped or sliced across seems to work in about two hours, a pole to pole slice in about three.

The lemons need to be thoroughly scrubbed if they are coated in wax. I found dropping them in a bowl with one part vinegar to 3 parts water and dipping my scrub brush into the water as I used it made it a bit easier.

Quick Preserved Lemons

  • Servings: varies
  • Time: 2 to 3 hours and 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • 4 to 6 thin-skinned lemons, scrubbed, trimmed at both ends, and cut lengthwise into sixths
  • 1 tablespoons coarse salt per lemon
  • about 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

To prepare lemons, scrub skin until no wax remains. Placing them in a bowl filled with a mixture of one part vinegar to 3 parts water and dipping your brush into the mixture as you scrub is helpful.

In a small baking dish or casserole, add lemons and toss with salt. Add lemon juice and bake, covered, stirring now and then until the skins are softened, about 3 hours.

Let cool and transfer, with juices, to an airtight container. The preserved lemons keep indefinitely. As an additional safety measure, keep refrigerated.

Note: If you’d like to make a quicker preserved lemon, slice lemons across or chop and continue with the recipe as directed. The smaller pieces will require less cooking time.

24-Hour Preserved Lemons

Makes 1 cup
10 minutes, plus 24 hours curing

What You'll Need:
3 lemons, rinsed
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons table salt
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Slice lemons thin crosswise.
  2. Toss lemons with sugar and salt in bowl. Stir in oil.
  3. Transfer lemons to bowl or pack into jar, cover, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 2 weeks.
  4. To use, chop or mince lemon as desired.

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  • 2 organic lemons, sliced into thin wedges
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 100ml water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  1. Place lemons wedges, lemon juice, salt and water into a microwave-safe container mix.
  2. Microwave for 10 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes, 5 minutes and 8 minutes to avoid spills in the microwave.
  3. Pour the mixture into a sterilised, airtight jar. Place in a cool place for 24 hours before use. Keep in the fridge after opening.

How to Use Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemons are used throughout Morocco, the Middle East and in certain areas of India to add flavor to a variety of dishes – everything from meats to salads, stews and sauces. And really, your imagination is the limit to how they can be used and enjoyed.

Here are a few more ideas:

Salad Dressings. Blend some preserved lemon into it and that dressing will love you forever.

Fish. Seafood and lemons are soul mates. Now think about relationship seafood and preserved lemons can form. Till never do us part. Whip up a lovely marinade for your fish with some finely diced or blended preserved lemon or add it to your sauce to drizzle over your fish.

Chicken. Chicken and lemon is a match made in heaven. Add a bit of chopped preserve lemon to your favorite chicken dishes and see what happens. Djej Makalli (from Morocco) is probably the most famous chicken dish featuring preserved lemons – it’s incredible!

Healthy Grain Dishes and Salads. Think nutty roasted barley or quinoa tossed with vegetables and tiny bits of preserved lemon with a tasty vinaigrette. Or how about a preserved lemon risotto or pilaf? Now you’re talking.

Pasta. Buttery pasta tossed with a creamy preserved lemon sauce? Commmme to mama!

Dips. Try adding some preserved lemon to your hummus next time. Or to your baba ganoush.

Salsas. Next time you make your famous mango/pineapple/however-you-make-it salsa, add some diced preserved lemon to it. Life was never so good.

Here are a couple of mouth-watering recipes featuring preserved lemons:

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

Say it with me: Hamad m’rakhad. Okay, let’s just use the English translation: Preserved lemons.

Quick preserved lemon

Sometimes we source lovely unwaxed lemons from organic growers in Sicily. Lemon skins are rich in vitamins and antioxidants and well as flavour! Lemon peel can be used in all kinds of dishes, savoury and sweet, to add a special bit of zing and a freshness that shines through the other flavours.

Preserved lemon is a very Moroccan thing - it's a simple process of combining the lemon with salt to preserve it for long periods of time. They have a very strong and unique flavour that works well in tagines and sauces like Chermoula.

It's usually made with quite small lemons, and requires you to wait a week or so before they're ready to use. This quick version makes the preserved lemon ready to use immediately.

This recipe uses one very large lemon and make a small jar's worth.

Butter bean and feta salad

Lemon juice and zest pep up this assemblage of melt-in-the-mouth butter beans and crumbled cheese.

Serve on garlic-rubbed toast or alongside lamb chops. Photograph: Tamin Jones/The Guardian

Serves 2
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a drizzle
1 red onion, sliced

½ tsp chilli flakes
400g can of butter beans, drained
A handful of black olives, stoned, drained and torn
100g baby spinach
100g feta, crumbled
Juice and zest 1 lemon
½ garlic clove, crushed
Salt and black pepper

1 Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat, add the onion and fry for 2 minutes, until just starting to cook. Add the chilli flakes, butter beans and olives. Stir and allow to heat through.

2 Put the spinach on to serving plates or a platter. Tip the butter-bean mix on top and toss to combine the ingredients. Crumble over the feta.

3 Mix the lemon zest and juice with the garlic, some seasoning and an extra glug of oil. Pour this over the salad and serve immediately.
Rosie Reynolds,

How Are Preserved Lemons Made?

But what about the straight up, salted lemons, so closely associated with North Africa? These preserved lemons are made by quartering ripe fruit while keeping the stem-end intact. Seeds are expressed and removed because they can make the preserve bitter. The lemons are packed into jars and salt is added. Some methods call for additional lemon juice—like this one from Paula Wolfert&aposs Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking ($45,—while others do not. The salt gradually draws out the juices in the lemons over a period of weeks to a couple of months, when the lemons are ready. Which brings us to this fascinating question: Are preserved lemons fermented? The answer is, yes! The microbes at work during lactic acid fermentation are responsible for the transformation of the lemons&apos flavor from sharp freshness to a complex and mellow tartness, while tenderizing the skin and pith until they are buttery-soft.

You can use any lemons to make preserved lemon. When they are in season, we bottle Preserved Meyer Lemons to make the most of their juiciness and extra-scented, thin skins. And if you don&apost want to wait weeks for preserved lemons to mature, cheat with our overnight recipe for Quick Preserved Lemons. Two tips: Scrub lemons well before preserving, and use good salt (never iodized, as it can add an acrid quality to the brine).

Chickpea Stew with Quick-Preserved Lemons

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Preserved lemons add a fragrant, slightly bitter layer to Mediterranean dishes. Note: Quick-Preserved Lemons sub-recipe takes 3 days to cure.


  • 7 medium carrots, halved and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced (1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. Aleppo pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbs. Quick-Preserved Lemons, finely chopped
  • 3 dried dates, pitted and chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 5 oz. baby kale or baby chard (2 cups)
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss carrots with 1 Tbs. oil, season with salt and pepper (if desired), and roast 30 minutes, or until just tender.

2. Heat remaining 2 Tbs. oil in large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook 7 to 10 minutes, or until starting to color. Add garlic and spices, sauté 1 minute, then stir in chickpeas, preserved lemons, and 3 cups water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 5 minutes. Add carrots and dates, and simmer 5 minutes more. Add kale to pot, cover, and cook 2 minutes, or until kale wilts. Remove from heat, and stir in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

What can I cook with preserved lemons?

The only limit to using these preserved lemons is your imagination. But start with marinades, dressings, a topping for hummus or other dips, pasta, chicken, fish. Here are a few recipes to get you started:

Also check out my Amazon shop that includes some of my favorite food and food-related products. I am always updating it – please visit often. And let me know if you need specific product recommendations – I am happy to help!