Preserved lemons or oranges

Preserved lemons or oranges

The Produce Companion
Jeremy Simons


Quantity Ingredient
sea salt flakes
lemons or small oranges, quartered
bay leaves, (optional)
1 cinnamon stick, (optional)
lemon or orange juice, to cover


  1. Sprinkle some salt into a sterilised jar (one with a plastic-lined lid, as salt is corrosive to metal). Pack lemon or orange wedges into the jar flesh-side down, sprinkling more salt over each layer, using 1 tablespoon of salt flakes for every lemon or orange. Keep packing in wedges and sprinkling on salt until the jar is full. You can add bay leaves to lemons or a cinnamon stick to oranges, if desired. Press down on the fruit to extract juice. Add enough juice to cover, if needed.
  2. Wipe the neck of the jar with a clean cloth and seal immediately. Store in a cool, dark place for 2 months before using. Refrigerate after opening.

Cook’s note

  • These gems are essential in any kitchen, being excellent for adding to casseroles, sauces, tagines and spice rubs, or simply for sprinkling over cooked fish. While preserved lemons are by far the most common, preserved oranges can be used in all the same ways – they simply taste a little sweeter and less bitter.

    In fact, this recipe also works for cumquats, grapefruit or limes. If using cumquats, cut a cross in the stalk end of each cumquat, cutting halfway down the fruit, and open the fruit up slightly. If using grapefruit that are large, you might consider cutting into eighths. If using limes that are large, you can quarter them like lemons, or if they are small you can cut a cross in them in the same way as cumquats.

    If the variety of lemons, oranges or grapefruit you are using have thick skins, boil them whole for 5 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. This helps to soften the fruit and accelerate the salt preservation.

    When using the salted fruit, cut out the flesh and discard. Rinse the skins to remove excess salt and chop finely.
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