Preserved Lemons

Organic Lemons

I cannot live without preserved lemons, some of my all time favorite Moroccan dishes have preserved lemons in them. When these lemons are covered and kept in the refrigerator, they will last up to 6 months.

This recipe is from Sally Fallon’s book, Nourishing Traditions. I tripled the recipe in the photo’s below.

Preserved Lemons

5 organic lemons

3 tablespoons sea salt

2 tablespoons whey (add extra tablespoon of salt if unavailable)

Juice from 2 lemons

Wash lemons well.  Slice thinly and cut slices into quarters. Toss in bowl with salt. Place in quart sized, wide mouth jar and press down lightly with wooden pounder or meat hammer. Mix lemon juice with whey and add to jar, pressing down so liquid completely covers the lemons. Lemons should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for up to two weeks, turning jar once a day before transferring to cold storage. When adding to recipes, remove pulp and cut skin into julienne.

Most commercial lemons are treated with neurotoxic cholinesterase inhibitors.  It pays to buy organic.

15 Sliced lemons in jar.  


Salt, whey and juice added.


Stirred the mixture, pounded it until liquid on top, then closed tightly for 1 week on counter.

  • Adrian Lup?a said:

    Interesting recipe. I always put lemons with sugar and use them in cakes, but this is a great idea to preserve lemons and use them in other type of food. Thank you for the tips.

  • Kelly said:

    This is a great idea but what do you do with them when they are done? How do you use preserved lemons?

    • Kelly- great question! One of my favorite dishes using preserved lemons: >
      I use them in any dish calling for lemons. In the summer I put them in my drinking water, making lemon water with no sugar.


    • Sheryl J. Wykes said:

      This is probably the most ridulous question yet. I have severe osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and after 3 knee surgies, which didn't help, and a fractured vertebrae from a very traumatic fall,(that did heal) I'm not able to cook a lot. I used to cook and bake all the time and my neigborhood children, my sons friends, sometimes the entire football team!and family members knew if they dropped by, Aunt Sherry would have something good to eat. My question is: Can't I just "suck" (sounds a little vulgar doesn't it???) on a few lemons twice a day after following your recipe that obviously sweetens them. I will also try to use them in any way I can. Love the idea, health benefits and something most of us wouldn't think of. I had a great aunt that said don't eat an apple a day, eat a lemon a day.
      She lived to 92, most of done something right!

  • This looks SOOO amazing good (in the healthy sense)! Maybe you'll let me taste some before I decide if I want to make these myself. :) ()

    • Absolutely Rachel! I'm making a new batch now. We eat it every day!

  • Karen said:

    What does cholinesterase do to the body? Out of curiosity, I tried to look it up to no avail.

  • Tamara said:

    Hi :) After fermenting do you remove the liquid for storage or do you store in fridge with liquid? When you put them in your water do you remove the pulp and just use the rind? I can't drink lemon water. It makes me feel super sick. Too acidic for me, I guess. This may be the answer. Thoughts?

  • Antoinette said:

    I am not sure if I understand... are you 'preserving lemons' in this fashion? wouldn't they be very salty (which I would think would not be healthy)..can you use these lemons for
    sweet recipes? Sounds very interesting and I hear lemons are the way to go to be please advise, lol.. thanks Toni

    • Hi Antoinette! yes, I'm preserving the lemons in this fashion. I've only used this recipe in salads and dinner dishes, never in deserts. I rinse the salt off before using. You don't taste salt at all.

  • mary said:

    I have cronic kidney deasis is it safe?

    • Oh goodness Mary, I'm not qualified to give that answer. You should ask your doctor!