Preserved Lemons - add umami to your dishes

The first day in the jar. Pack the jar with lemon quarters and salt. Top off with lemon juice after the 2nd day.

The first day in the jar. Pack the jar with lemon quarters and salt. Top off with lemon juice after the 2nd day.

Preserve Lemons couldn’t be easier to make; container, salt, Meyer lemons and time. With so many uses you’ll want to keep a jar or two in your refrigerator at all times. Lemons preserved in brine mellows out the sharp citrus flavor bringing out the lemon umani. Umani is the Japanese word for the fifth savory taste along with sweet, sour, bitter and salt.

Preserve Lemon are an essential ingredient in many Middle Eastern, Asian and North African recipes. I made these for a Moroccan Chicken Tajine recipe I wanted to try out. (Recipe is coming soon.) I have added preserve lemon juice to a tuna salad, oil and vinegar salad dressing and added peels to cooked couscous, oil and muffins.

Preserved Lemons Recipe

Makes one 16 oz. or two 8 oz. canning jar


Lemons – 8 Organic Meyer lemons – quarter 6 and juice 2
Salt – 3/4 cup - Use a good salt like Kosher, Himalayan Pink or sea salt


Wash the lemons with a mild soap and rinse well. Cut off the hard end and quarter the lemons into lengthwise wedges. Toss the lemons in salt while gentle working the salt into the pulp. Pack the lemon wedges in a glass jar add salt as you go. Put the lid on and gently shake the jar to disperse the salt and juices. Place the jar in a cool corner of your kitchen. The salt will draw out the juices . If needed, after two days, top off the jar with lemon juice to cover the lemons. Gently shake every day or two for a week or two until the rinds are soft for about 2 weeks. Refrigerate for up to a year. Rinse and pat dry before using.

Traditionally the lemons are cut into quarters, but not all the way through. In my research for recipes I didn’t see any advantage to keeping the lemons. By cutting the lemons into wedges, you can get more into a jar.

How to use Preserved Lemons

  • Use the rind and pulp in every place you would use fresh lemons. Including a Bloody Mary and ice tea.

  • Add a squeeze of juice into tuna salad, salad dressings, over salmon, crab and vegetables.

  • Mince the peel into a risotto, rice or couscous.

  • Use the juice and rind in your baking like, lemon zucchini bread and lemon sugar cookies.

  • Preserved lemons make a beautiful gift.