Moroccan Instant Preserved Lemons with Aromatics

This is the first post in my on-going series on edible gifts, just in time for the holiday season. Preserved Lemons are essential to Moroccan and Middle Eastern cookery, versatile and a really simple-to-make but thoughtful gift to give.

I attended a lesson on preparing preserved lemons by preserving master Oded Schwartz, and he mentioned the possibility of shortening the time needed (often months) by freezing the lemons overnight – this weakens the protein structure and breaks down the skins without destroying the lemon’s integrity. Further research proved that it was worthwhile the effort and I devised this recipe for preserved lemon slices, soaked in brine, instead of layers of salt as is the traditional method, and aromatics such cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, pink and green peppercorns. Additionally I used pink Himalayan salt, just for a pretty visual.


 Makes 2 small jars

6 lemons, washed, wiped well and sliced (remove the ends)

2 lemons for juicing

2 cups water

3/4 cup salt

1/4 cup Pink salt for sprinkling

3 cinammon sticks

6 cardamom pods

6 cloves

1 t mixed peppercorns

4 dried lime leaves (for adding at end)

few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

a jar of preserved lemons make a lovely gift


Place sliced lemons in a freezer-proof bag. Squeeze juice of remaining lemons over. Add 1 T salt and shake well.

Squeeze air out of bag and  seal. Freeze overnight or for 8 hours.

Remove bag from freezer and thaw.

In a pot on medium-high heat on the stove, heat the water, salt and spices.

Prepare preserving jars by sterilizing them and the lids.

Add the fully thawed lemon slices to the hot jars.

Pour hot liquid and spices over the lemons. Pour additional salt over, diving between jars.

Add the lime leaves.

Allow to cool, spoon olive oil on top and seal.

Store in a dark place and refrigerate once opened. Use within a few months once opened.

Rinse lemons before use, if preferred.


Attach a ribbon around the lid and a card with notes on how to store and how long the lemons will keep.

Attach recipes for use with the lemons, such as this Moroccan Lemon & Cumin Lamb and Vegetable Stew.

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