How to Make "Preserved Lemons" for Moroccan Cuisine



Moroccan cuisine is the culinary star of North Africa. At the crossroads of many civilizations, the cuisine of
Morocco is a mélange of Arab, Berber, Moorish, French, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean African, Iberian, and Jewish influences. 

Moroccan cooking is enhanced with such fruits as, dried and fresh — apricots, dates, figs, and raisins. Lemons preserved in a salt-lemon juice mixture are unique to many Moroccan dishes. Nuts are prominent; pine nuts, almonds, and pistachios.  Moroccan Sweets are rich and dense confections of cinnamon, almond, and fruit perfumes that are rolled in filo dough, soaked in honey, and stirred into puddings.  

Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food. Common spices include karfa (cinnamon), kamoun (cumin), kharkoum (turmeric), skingbir (ginger), libzar (pepper) , tahmira (paprika), anis seed, sesame seed, kasbour (coriander), maadnous (parsley), zaafrane beldi (saffron) and mint. Spices are the defining point to any authentic Moroccan meal and are also known to be used for their medicinal value. It’s the special blend of spices that makes Moroccan cuisine taste so good. One special blend is the Ras El Hanout.

The ten spices considered the most important to Moroccan cuisine are:
Cayenne (felfla), cinnamon (karfa), turmeric (quekoum), ginger (skinjbir), black pepper (elbezar), aniseed (nafaa), sesame seeds (jinjelan), cumin (kamoon), paprika (felfla hlouwa), and saffron (zafrane).A trip to a Souk will find you the essentials needed for your kitchen and home.

A Souk is a market, which may be held in a designated commercial quarter, or in an open-air location. Souks are an important part of life in the Middle East and their merchants carry a wide assortment of products from rugs to vegetables, just the place to find ingredients for your Moroccan recipes.

Moroccan dishes are fragrant and full of flavor.  Many include preserved lemons which can be purchased, but difficult to find in the U.S. However, making them is easy.

Preserved Lemons can take up to 30 days to prepare and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.  A quick preserving method can be used but they will only last 2 days.

I’m going to share how to make Preserved Lemons using the 30 day method from Paula Wolferts cookbook, “The Food of Morocco.”  Then, next Monday I will share with you a wonderful recipe using these Preserved Lemons, so when yours are ready you’ll have a luscious recipe to use them in.

Here’s the recipe:

Quartered Lemons, Juice, Salt and Jar with Tight Fitting Lid
Quartered Lemons placed in Jar with Salt and Juice Sealed Tightly



Taken Directly from The Food of Morocco

Don’t forget to try this simple recipe for Preserved Lemons and meet me back here next week, for another recipe to use them in.  Until then……




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Moroccan cuisine is without a doubt one of my favourite types yet I have never cooked it! You have me inspired and your preserved lemons are the perfect step to adding that authentic flavour – thank you 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  2. Have made my own preserved lemons for many years, my beloved Meyer lemontree in the back garden doing the ‘right thing’ by me: have just put up another big batch 🙂 ! Usable in so many ways, including the many Moroccan dishes I make. Am happy you mentioned Paula Wolfert’s book, which has been a good friend since this edition came out in the middle of last year. She is such a lovely and talented lady: if one has time for Facebook, her ‘Moroccan Cooking’ group is a wonderful one to which to belong.

    • Eha how lucky you are to have your own Meyer lemon tree. Ooh the things I could do with that.

      As for Paula Wolferts Facebook page I agree. I don’t think I’ve seen a more active page than hers. Always a wealth of information and her books as well.

  3. Very nice! Can’t wait to see your recipe next week! I love ethnic cuisine as there’s always a lot of unique, delicious flavor!

  4. I think preserved lemons add so much flavor to a dish, can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with in your kitchen;-)

  5. I finally tried preserved lemons this summer…and loved them! I have a jar in the fridge, but I need to make my own next time. I’ll file your recipe away for the future 🙂

  6. Moroccan food is wonderful. I lived there for a bit years (decades!) ago – wonderful place. I haven’t made Moroccan preserved lemons for ages – I haven’t cooked Moroccan food for ages! – but I’ve been thinking of these lately. I’m eager to see what you’re going to do with them? Something with chicken, I’d guess, although there certainly are many possibilities. 😉 Fun post – thanks.

  7. Oh I do love preserved lemons! It’s funny because I never cook Moroccan, but I use preserved lemons all of the time. They are SO good! Thanks for sharing a 7 day method!

  8. I have wanted to make preserved lemons for the longest time…you have just inspired me!! Thanks for sharing!!

  9. I’ve never had nor cooked with preserved lemons so I can’t wait to see what you’ll be making!

  10. Amazing post, I love preserved lemons and I use them in many recipes, I love the concentrated flavor!

  11. Dear Vicki,

    I love the moorish feel about Moroccan food and the spices have such unique flavours and aromas in their recipes.

  12. Ooo, I’ve always wanted to try making preserved lemons! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  13. Never preserved lemons but did pickles with it. And it looks almost the same if I omit some of the spices from it.

    • I made pickles when I was a little girl but that was ages ago. Maybe you could share your recipe for making pickles. I’d love to see that. If you post it on your blog please let me know.

  14. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in Creative Busy Bee Craft Inspirations, under the Page 4 post on Aug. 18, 2012. Thanks again.

  15. Vicki…thanks for sharing this recipe. I am a huge fan of Moroccan flavors and have just started dabbling in Moroccan cooking. So I’ve yet to try and preserve lemons. Looking forward to trying this! : )

  16. They are so expensive to buy and that kind of puts me off cooking with them. Thanks for this Vicki 🙂

  17. Score! I’ve been thinking about doing this for awhile now. Thanks so much!

  18. thanks for posting this, i’ve been meaning to make preserved lemons for a long time. i can pick up some lemons tomorrow from the farmer’s market, can’t wait to make this!

  19. I’m really new to Moroccan food. I’ve tried maybe… 2-3 times (or could be just two times) in my life. I know, that’s awful! I need to venture out for different kinds of food. Living here in SF I’m sure we can easily find the restaurant and see what kind of food they serve. I just saw the chicken and I’m excited to try it out. Something new is always fun!

Leave a Comment »