How to Preserve Lemons (raw, vegan)

Moroccan Preserved Lemons with salt

Moroccan Preserved Lemons with salt

Someone asked me recently which ingredient I would always keep in my kitchen. Undoubtedly the humble lemon has to be very high on the list as lemons are so versatile and also just as useful for flavour balancing as salt or sweetener.

Preserved lemon skins are a deliciously salty sour addition to veggies, pulses, rice, salads and salsas. The liquor that is produced can also be added to soups and salad dressings for an added depth of flavour. Try a little of the preserving liquid in a dressing for kale – it really gives bitter greens a lift.

In the UK, the choice of lemons is limited so it’s a pretty easy decision in terms of varieties.  However if you can get hold of different varieties or even Meyer lemons it is worth experimenting. The Meyer lemon will be sweeter once preserved as it is a hybrid of the lemon and mandarin and is more floral and fruity then regular lemons.

You can also follow the same preserving principle using limes.

Whatever type of lemon or lime you choose, they will need unwaxed and organic for this recipe since you will be eating the skins.  You will also need a large bag of sea salt.

I like to keep mine simple because it means that the lemons are more versatile once preserved, but you can also add a cinnamon stick, coriander seeds, garlic, chillies, peppercorns or juniper berries to the jar during the preserving period.

How to Preserve Lemons (raw, vegan)
Prep time
Total time
Yield: Approx 1 litre
  • 12 lemons
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • More lemon juice as required
  • You will also need a 1 ½ litre kilner/mason jar
  1. Cut about 7 of your lemons into quarters but not quite to the base as you still need your lemons to hold together.
  2. Pack inside the lemons with sea salt and place them in a sterilised kilner jar (mason jar).
  3. Juice the remaining lemons with enough lemon juice to cover the lemons. Fill the jar.
  4. Seal and set aside for one month until you use them.


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