Preserved Lemons

Condiments, PALEO | August 11, 2017 | By

This recipe is a keeper – it belongs to my maternal grandmother who was one of the best cooks I’ve ever known, she made this for me every summer and it was part of the loot I would bring back home (we lived in different cities). This is not a recipe that will be ready in a few hours or a day, it takes several days but is so worth the wait. 

Preserved lemons are easy to make but require two key ingredients after lemons of course – sunlight and patience! This process involves pickling and salting lemon with lemon juice and preserving it with tons of sunlight for a few weeks…absolutely zero added preservatives. These literally never go bad, honestly I run out of them before they even have a chance of going bad. According to my mom these preserved lemons last for several years on the shelf (no need to refrigerate!).

I would ideally love to make this with Meyer lemons but that variety doesn’t grow locally in New York so I used organic lemons instead.

The best part of the recipe is…three simple ingredients – lemons, salt and freshly ground black peppercorns.

I first scrubbed the lemons clean, then cut them into four quarters and added juice of fresh lemons. This juice is what helps to form the brine when the lemons are fermenting.  

I put the lemon pieces in a sterilized glass jar added fresh lemon juice and himalayan pink salt.

This is what the preserve looked like about two days of being preserved under direct sunlight.

And this is the preserve ready in just under 3 weeks (there were a few rainy days in-between).

I added black pepper and less than a tea spoon of rock salt (this is optional). Mixed and stored in a sterilized glass jar for years to come! This lemon preserve has a very complex flavor profile with an intense citrusy taste and the whole thing is edible, rind and all.

Here are things I absolutely love about this recipe:

  • Just three ingredients – fresh lemons, salt and black pepper
  • Zero preservatives – this is completely sun-dried and uses no other added preservatives
  • Lasts forever – these preserved lemons last forever

This is a true labor of love (not so much labor needed though!), I’ve spread this on a toasted slice of bread, used it to make lemon chicken and it tastes absolutely divine.

Preserved Lemons
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  1. 5 Lemons
  2. 1/3 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  3. 4 Tsp Himalayan Pink Salt
  4. 3 Tsp Ground Black Pepper
  1. Wash and scrub the lemons.
  2. Cut lemons into 4 quarters and put the pieces in a sterilized glass jar.
  3. Add the lemon juice to the lemons and then add salt.
  4. Give the lemons a stir and let it sit under direct sunlight during the day (jar covered with a lid). Repeat this process every day until the juice changes to a thick consistency, lemons become softer and pale (2-3 weeks).
  5. Once ready add the black pepper powder and mix.
  6. Store in a glass jar (doesn't need to be refrigerated).
  1. If possible use organic lemons.
  2. Use freshly ground black peppercorns for better flavor.
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