Preserved Lemons

The other night I watched Michael Pollan’s COOKED series on Netflix.  It is a beautifully-made documentary based on his book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. One of the episodes focuses on air and spores and the magic of fermentation.  As a good Eastern European mix, I have had my full share of krauts and preserved meats and as of late, have become very interested in Middle-Eastern influenced cuisines.  I first encountered Preserved lemon via Ottolenghi. Hesitant at first, thinking the smell was like floor cleaner, I used a quarter of the recommended amount. As I’ve become more brave, I’ll brazenly chop into those shriveled little orbs and enjoy the extraordinary flavor they impart to any dish.


  • 5-6 Lemons, Washed
  • 1/2 Cup Sea Salt (Coarse or Fine)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp each: Fennel & Coriander seeds, Whole Peppercorns
  • 2 Small Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1 16oz Large Ball Jar (lid and container sterilized)
  • Juice of 4 Lemons (about 2 cups) NO SUBSTITUTIONS HERE!


Set up your jar in a wide mouthed bowl or dish to catch any drippings


  • Either keep lemons whole, slicing almost down to the bottom, or cut into wedges, generously salting inside and out
  • Continue adding lemon wedges and salt, whilst adding aromatics as you go
  • Add freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Store in a warm place, shaking jar from time to time

Ready in about a week – ideally a month and will keep for up to a year

Rinse quickly before using – a white film sometimes grows, simply wash this off too

Add to salad dressings, stews, vegetables for an extra and unexpected zing! (Try in your next cocktail too!)






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