Preserved Lemons

Mitchell Davis

James Beard Foundation, NYC

These salted and cured lemons are a delicious seasoning and condiment from North Africa, ubiquitous in the foods of Morocco and Tunisia. Although you can find preserved lemons for sale in some specialty markets, they are so cheap and easy to make, you are better off preserving your own.


  • 8 to 10 lemons, depending on the size
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt


Juice 4 of the lemons to produce about 1/2 cup of juice. Rinse the remaining lemons (remove any stickers) and pat dry. Cut the lemons lengthwise into 6 wedges. Place the lemon wedges in a bowl. Toss with the salt to coat. Tightly pack the lemons with the salt and any juice that has run off into a sterilized pint jar. Fill the jar with the reserved lemon juice to cover the lemons. Cover tightly and let sit at room temperature for about three weeks, turning the jar upside down each day, until they have softened and begun to ferment.

To use, remove a wedge of lemon and rinse under cold water. Cut away the fleshy center and finely mince the rind.


8 to 10 preserved lemons