Preserved Organic Lemons

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    preserved lemons

Appears in

Welcome to Claire's: 35 Years of Recipes and Reflections from the Landmark Vegetarian Restaurant

Welcome to Claire's

By Claire Criscuolo

Published 2014

  • About

These preserved lemons last for 6 months. The flavor is potent, so use no more than a wedge per 4 servings at first; you can always add more to your taste.


  • 9 organic lemons
  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons salt


  1. Wash and dry a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Set a bowl and a -cup measure on the counter where you will be working. Wash and dry the lemons. Hold a lemon upright. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the lemon in half, but not all the way through. Cut about three-fourths of the way; you want to create a "blossom,” not separate wedges. (Don’t fret if you do cut all the way through—it will still work; just try not to cut through the next one.) Cut the lemon in half again, going three-fourths of the way through, not all the way. You’ll have 4 attached wedges like a “blossom.” Measure cup of salt. Hold the cut lemon over the bowl and carefully pour most of the salt, a little at a time, over the cut sides of the lemon wedges, allowing excess to fall into the bowl. Pour the remaining salt, also using any salt that has fallen into the bowl, over the outside of the lemon. Place the salted lemon into the clean jar, laying it on its side and pushing slightly to allow some of the juice to fall into the jar.
  2. Repeat the process with 7 more lemons, saving the last one. Cut the last lemon into the same 4-wedge “blossom” as the others, but before salting it, squeeze the juice into the jar, over the other salted lemons. Now salt the final lemon and add it to the jar. Pour about 2 tablespoons of the remaining salt over the salted lemons in the jar. Cover tightly and turn the jar upside down to allow the juices to flow over the lemons.
  3. Label and date the jar. Leave the jar on the counter for a day, turning it over whenever you pass by it or think of it, at least three times. The next day, put the jar in the refrigerator. Store for about 30 days, turning it over to distribute the juices once or twice a day, or more if you remember. After 30 days, the lemons will darken slightly, their skin will soften, and you can begin to enjoy them in your favorite foods.