Martha's Lemon Confit

1 quart

Lemon confit is a simple a two-ingredient preserving method that transforms citrus with salt. There's a third element to this time-honored technique: time. After you cut the lemons and pack them in a glass jar with salt, they need at least one month to cure (Martha says three months is ideal!). At that point, your lemon confit will last up to a year. As for how the process works? The salt draws out the juices from the lemon, leaving a translucent peel with a pungent flavor. Preserved lemons are used in many dishes, notably Moroccan tagines and Martha's favorite pasta with bottarga.


  • 3 cups kosher salt

  • 4 to 5 lemons


  1. Bring a medium stockpot of water to a boil. Place a 1-quart canning jar in the boiling water for 5 minutes to sterilize. Place jar on a wire rack, upside down, to dry.

  2. Pour a layer of salt into the bottom of the jar. Quarter a lemon, starting at the end, but leaving the uncut end intact. Open the lemon over a small bowl, and pour some salt inside. Place the lemon in the bottom of the jar. Continue process with the remaining lemons. Be sure to use all of the salt, including any salt that remains in the bowl. Pack the lemons into the jar, and covering each layer of lemons with salt. Seal the jar, and refrigerate.

  3. The lemons can be used after 1 month, but they are best after 3 months and will keep for up to one year.

  4. To use the confit, cut the lemon quarters apart. Cut away all the flesh from the rind; discard the flesh. Dice or julienne, and add to salads, stews, or grain dishes.

    David M. Russell
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