Sarah's Preserved Lemons

preserved lemons
Photo: Johnny Miller
Prep Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
10 mins
1 quart

The secret to Everyday Food host Sarah Carey's flavorful preserved lemons? Cinnamon sticks, fresh bay leaves, and two types of seeds -- fennel and coriander. They're her secret-weapon ingredient in these Roasted Potatoes with Garlic and Chiles.


  • 5 to 6 lemons, plus 1/2 to 1 cup fresh juice (from 4 to 6 more)

  • ¾ cup kosher salt, plus more if necessary

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds

  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds

  • 2 fresh bay leaves


  1. Stand 1 lemon on its stem end on a cutting board; cut down center as if cutting in half, but stop about 1/2 inch above stem. Make a perpendicular cut, again stopping about 1/2 inch above stem, so lemon is quartered but still intact. Holding it over a bowl, spread its four quarters open and pack in as much salt as you can, allowing excess to fall into bowl. (You should be able to pack about 2 tablespoons in.) Place lemon, cut-side up, in a dry, sterile 1-quart glass jar (preferably with a neck narrower than jar) with a lid or a clamp closure. Repeat process with as many lemons as jar will hold. (You may have to add some the next day, when first set of lemons are softer.) Add cinnamon sticks, fennel, coriander, bay leaves, and enough lemon juice to cover. Cover with lid; let stand overnight.

  2. Push lemons down in jar with a clean spoon; if you have remaining lemons, add as many as you can now. If necessary, add more lemon juice to completely submerge lemons. Cover with lid, or clamp closed. Place in a dark spot (but do not refrigerate).

  3. For the next week, turn and shake jar once a day to redistribute salt. If lemons are no longer submerged, add more juice. Let stand 2 to 3 weeks more before using. Lemons can be refrigerated in jar 2 to 3 months.

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