Preserved Lemons

I’ve got another edible gift idea for you today friends. Because Christmas is right around the corner! Are you ready?

Hopefully you’re doing better than me. I haven’t bought a single thing yet. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. I plan on waiting to the last possible minute when the panic really sets in. That’s totally healthy and normal behavior, right?

But I’m not completely empty handed because I have been whipping up lots of edible gifts in my kitchen. Mostly they seem to involve sugar, chocolate or booze. Not that I’m complaining. In fact, if you were planning on giving me something with the words “sugary”, “ooey”, “gooey”, “chocolately” or “boozy” in the title, please don’t hesitate. Keep ‘em coming. I also accept gifts with the word “Anthropologie” in the title. Just saying.

OK, let’s get back on track. With all these sweet treats coming out of my kitchen, I thought it would be a nice change of pace to make an edible gift that was more on the savory side of things. And Preserved Lemons turned out to be exactly the antidote that I needed for my sugar-induced coma.

Preserved Lemons are probably most well know for their use in Middle Eastern recipes. The peel is traditionally the part that’s most desirable, providing an intense and pleasing lemon flavor (without causing you to pucker!) to a variety of dishes. They can be added to pastas, stews, grain salads, seafood and meat dishes. It’s a versatile ingredient that would be appreciated by anybody in your life who loves to cook, especially considering that Preserved Lemons can sometimes be difficult to find and they can be relatively expensive.

One jar of homemade Preserved Lemons will enable the lucky recipient to create dozens of dishes. All with minimal cost and time investment on your part. That’s a win all around.

I’ll be posting some recipes using Preserved Lemons over the next couple weeks. So be sure to check back!



Recipe from Real Simple Magazine

Preserved Lemons

Yield: Makes 1 quart-sized jar

Preserved Lemons


  • 3 lemons
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt


  1. Wash the lemons. Place them in a medium saucepan with the water and bring to a boil. Boil the lemons for 12-15 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat. Using a pair of tongs, carefully remove the lemons from the water and place them on a cutting board to cool slightly.
  2. While the lemons are cooling, combine 3 cups of the hot cooking liquid with the sugar and kosher salt, stirring until everything is dissolved.
  3. Once the lemons are cool enough to handle, slice them into quarters. Be very carefully, as the inside of the lemons will still be hot and they can squirt a little when you slice into them.
  4. Pack the sliced lemons into a quart-sized re-sealable glass jar. Pour the cooking liquid mixture over the lemons, completely covering them. Seal and refrigerate for at least 2 weeks before using.
  5. The preserved lemons will keep for up to 3 months with proper refrigeration.
  6. To use, remove the desired number of lemon slices from the jar and briefly rinse them under water to remove excess salt and sugar. The peel is normally the desired part of the preserved lemon, and it’s the part most commonly used in dishes that call for preserved lemons. Although the flesh is used in some cases.

35 comments on “Preserved Lemons”

  1. I only have the edible gifts down and the rest is up in the air till the week of Christmas lol!! Love this idea! Brings summer in a jar 🙂

  2. I’ve never actually heard of preserving lemons, Liz! What a great idea! And it look so pretty, too. Another great gift idea, love it!!

  3. hey, if you’ve been whipping up lots of edible gifts, you’ve done A LOT!!! that’s more than a lot of us can say! 🙂 and I also accept gifts with the word “Anthropologie” in the title!! 🙂 LOVE these preserved lemons!! what a great gift for the foodies!!

  4. Anthro’s home section is killing it right now. So many wants.
    Love this idea, too! I can’t wait to see what recipes you come up with!

  5. I’ve never tried preserved lemons, but the ides sounds great! I’m curious to try these! Looks like they can make an awesome Christmas gift!

  6. I love this! It’s sunshine in a glass! Can’t wait to see what you make with them 🙂

  7. Liz, I have been DYING to try making preserved lemons (so I can attempt recreating the lovely tagines I had in Morocco) but have never got around to it. You have my mind set now–these look gorgeous!

    • Thanks, Amy! It’s so easy. You gotta do it! There are many different recipes out there (some use all salt, some add spices and herbs, etc.), but I’m really happy with how this version came out. And I can’t wait to make lots of yummy things. Oh and I think once Meyer lemons come out, I’ll preserve some of those as well!

  8. They’re so pretty! Why not good in tea?

  9. I spoke too soon…missed the SALT part . He he! But I can totally just look at them 🙂

    • Yes, they are to be used in savory dishes (like cous cous salads, roasted fish, etc.). And you eat the peel usually, not the pulp.

  10. We are just totally on the same page! I preserved some lemons this weekend! Why? Because that’s what we food lovers do for fun on Saturday nights…that’s why:)

  11. I have never had preserved lemon before but I love Middle Eastern/Moroccan food and I know they use them a ton. This is such a great and unique gift idea!

  12. I would LOVE to get preserved lemons as a gift, especially in that adorable jar 🙂

  13. I have always wanted to make preserved lemons! Must do this. So bright and cheery, especially for winter!

  14. I love these edible gift posts — so great! We made preserved lemons in cooking school and they added so much to the dishes they were in. I love them, and really need to make my own! Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

  15. Ooooh, I am so intrigued by this!! I’ve never cooked with preserved lemons before, so I’ll be looking forward to your recipes!

  16. What a beautiful and creative gift!

  17. Edible gifts are the best! Although, anything from Anthropologie also ranks pretty high on my things I would like gifted to me list 🙂

  18. I love this idea! It’s really hard to buy preserved lemons and yours are so much prettier! Can’t wait to try them!

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