DIY, Preserves

Preserved Lemons

 Prep Time : 20 + 10 Minutes | Cook Time : 0 Minutes | Total Time : 3 weeks | Difficulty : Easy


Hello my lovelies! This is the first of a new series of posts on preserves and other DIY pantry staples that will be popping up here. I have a poorly hidden love for making preserves and I’d like to share some of it with you. For now these posts will pop up from time to time, a couple of times a month in addition to your regular programming! I really hope you give some of these recipes a go – it’s easier than you think and the results are so rewarding.

So first up is literally the easiest preserve in existence! Preserved lemons are so good in everything. They add such depth of flavour to almost any dish, and I love to add them to hummus. They also have an epic effort to reward ratio. A few minutes of chopping and chucking them in a jar. There’s a bit of waiting. 3 weeks will go by in a flash. After that it’s months of delicious reward.

Wash your jar in hot soapy water and rinse it thoroughly. Dry it. Wash your lemons.


Trim the end of the lemon where it was attached to the tree. Cut off a 2-3 cm circle. This get’s rid of the hard bit and also gives each lemon a little base to stand on.


Cut each lemon lengthwise into sixths without cutting all the way through. Leave about a centimetre at the bottom.


Now for the fun part. You need to pack as many lemons as you can into the jar. You should be able to get between 6 and 8 in a 1 litre jar. Put a tablespoon of salt into the jar first. For each lemon sprinkle two teaspoons of salt into the cuts you made. Smush it in with your fingers.


Pack the lemons into the jar. You may find that depending on the shape of your jar you need to break some of the lemons in half to fill up all the space. As you go use the handle of a wooden spoon to squish the lemons down as far as you can. Keep going until you reach the shoulder of the jar. The more lemons in there the less extra juice you will need later. Top it off with a last tablespoon of salt.


The salt will make the lemons start to release their juice and it will start to fill the jar.


Leave the jar of lemons out at room temperature for 24 hours. You will be able to see that the juice level has risen.


Open the jar up and give the lemons another push down with your wooden spoon. You will notice that the flesh has lost all it’s structure and the lemons give easily when you push on them now.


Juice extra lemons to make sure the liquid is covering all the lemons in the jar. This is why you need around 10 lemons when you can only get up to 8 in the jar.


Leave the jar out for another 48 hours. Give it a few turns each day to help dissolve the salt. There may be salt that stays in the bottom of the jar. That is totally fine.

Now pop the jar in the fridge and leave it for 3 weeks. If you are impatient and nosy like me, you can gently shake the jar every couple of days and it won’t do any harm. Once the lemons are ready pull out wedges, chop and add to almost anything! I find one wedge is the right amount for a two person dish – experiment to see what you like! The liquid will be salty and lemony and a little oily. This is normal. The natural oils in the skins of the lemons will give it that texture.

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Preserved Lemons

Prep Time : 20 + 10 mins | Cook Time : 0 mins | Total Time : 3 weeks | Difficulty : Easy | Makes : A 1 litre jar

Mellow aromatic preserved lemons, perfect for adding a flavour punch to savoury dishes.


  • Approx. 10 medium lemons
  • Salt – approx. half a cup
  • Optional: A large garlic clove, peeled and sliced
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons Gochugaru chilli flakes

– If using metric cups, reduce volume measures by 1 tablespoon for every cup of dry or liquid ingredients – 


  • A 1 litre (1 quart) jar with a tight clip top lid or screw on lid
  • Measuring spoons
  • Small sharp knife
  • Citrus reamer/juicer


Cook’s Notes:

  • This recipe gives salt measurements for fine grain salt (I use pink Himalayan), if you use kosher salt increase the amount to 1 tablespoon per lemon as the grains are larger and volume measures contain less actual salt.
  • You can make these plain or flavour them with a little garlic, chilli flakes or rosemary.
  • You can also preserve limes this way – use about 1 teaspoon of salt per lime – these are excellent flavoured with chilli flakes
  • A jar this size lasts our two person household about 6 months
  • Use preserved lemons in any savoury dish to add an aromatic depth of flavour – especially to middle eastern dishes.
  • Use just the peel or dice with the flesh as well.
  • Be careful to check the flavour of sauces before adding salt as the lemons will add some salt of their own.

 – Keep these lemons in the fridge as you use them up – 

Adapted from Beyond Canning by Autumn Giles.

© 2017 The Winsome Baker. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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