Homemade Preserved Lemons

This is my second attempt to make preserved lemons. The first ended with a jar of mouldy lemons. I was disappointed for a few years, excessive I know, and then my mother gave me loads of lemons from her tree.  So I decided it was time I didn’t let this simple recipe beat me. You may think it’s cheaper to buy them already done, and it’s probably is, especially if you have to buy a jar and the lemons, but for me it was one of those things that I just had to conquer. Besides anything you make yourself is always more satisfying, right.

I looked at a few recipes, Stephanie Alexander, Stevie Parle, and Jamie Oliver. It’s all much of a muchness, but I mostly followed Stevie Parle’s recipe.

Preserved Lemons


6 lemons (depending on the size of the lemons and your jar)

Alot of rock salt (not  necessarily Maldon, too expensive, just ordinary rock salt)

green cardamom pods, cracked with the side of your chefs knife

black peppercorns


Cut lemons in half and quarters but not cutting through the base. Push in a few cardomom pods and peppercorns in the slits of the lemon. Pour some rock salt in the bottom of a clean glass jar, push lemons in to the jar filling the spaces with rock salt as you go. Push the lemons in as much as you can and while shaking the jar to disperse the salt. Try and fill the jar spaces with as much salt as you can to minimise the air space. Finish by filling the jar with rock salt.

Then store in a cool, dry place for 2-3 months before it’s ready  for use.

I think keeping the air space to a minimum is the trick to making preserved lemons and probably what I did wrong in the first attempt.

The other ideal is to have organic lemons. It is the only the rind that you use in preserved lemons so it makes sense not to used sprayed, waxed ones.

After a few months it will look like this…

To use the rind scrape off the ‘inners’ of the lemons before slicing the rind. Once the jar is opened store in the fridge.

11 thoughts on “Homemade Preserved Lemons

  1. I’m not sure what the advantage to keeping the base intact is? I’d suggest that cutting the lemons through into quarters would make it much easier to pack them into the jar with the salt, ensuring no gaps of air?
    Next time you get a lot of lemons, let me know if you want to try one of my mum’s Indian lemon pickle recipes? Those have come out well for me…

    • Yeah I guess there wouldn’t be any benefit in leaving the base intact at all (all the recipes I read just said to leave them intact). I guess I wouldn’t make any difference at all. I would love to try one of your mum’s recipes. I’m constantly getting lemons from mum’s tree. 🙂

  2. You get lemons fresh from a lemon tree? *weeps* Still, i guess i have pears for chutney so I can’t complain. I’ve been meaning to do these for years, I have a Claudia Rodin recipe somewhere and I would much prefere to have home made ones. It’s just there is so much patience involved… Have you used these ones on anything yet?

  3. Going to preserve lemons for the first time so many ways well I thought I seen a recipe packed with rock salt then filled with boiling but all the ones I have seen recently are either just rock salt or rock salt and lemon juice

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