Mourad’s Preserved Lemons & 4 Weeks of Patience


Preserved lemons and the power of social media, my friend Don Odiorne, a man who knows all about Idaho Potatoes, posted on Facebook that he dined at Mourad’s in San Francisco, the only Moroccan restaurant in the country with a Michelin star.  Reading his post, I had to dig out Mourad’s cookbook.  

I purchased his book New Moroccan at the CIA in Napa Valley.
It is a fascinating book, full of passion, simple recipes that scream flavor and his cooking represents the soul of Moroccan cuisine. Preserved lemons are beautifully fragrant pickled lemons, their unique flavor makes them irreplaceable in Moroccan cuisine, where they are usually added to tagines and salads. 


Posting on my Blog:

Almost every weekend I cook at home and I post most of the recipes I cook on my blog.  I love to cook and as a chef, even after all the years of cooking, I truly believe that I still need to evolve by exploring different flavors and foods.  

Taking pictures of food and food styling is a natural extension.  I love the creativity part of it, displaying food in a way that the picture tells a story.  If you look at one of my food pictures and it inspires you to cook the recipe; I think I succeeded.

Cooking with Joyce Goldstein:

The first time I cooked real Moroccan food was with Joyce Goldstein.   Joyce is a chef, food writer, and restaurateur with deep knowledge and expertise in Mediterranean food; oh, and also the author of 26 cookbooks.  For 12 years she was chef-owner of the groundbreaking Mediterranean Restaurant, SQUARE ONE, in San Francisco.
I remember cooking with Joyce, she used preserved lemons, chermoula, fresh herbs, and buttery couscous, sometimes seasoned with cinnamon.  I recall the ease of the recipes, there was no tweezer food, everything was about flavor and letting the ingredients speak, memorable food that worked your taste buds.


Preserved Lemons:

Preserved Lemons are easy and quick to make and last practically forever.  They are lemons that have been pickled in salt and their juice, sealed in a jar and placed in a dark area for a month.

After a month, you will have an intense, concentrated lemony Umami bomb that can be used for dressings, seafood, grain salads, or the famous Moroccan chicken made with preserved lemon and olives.  Or try adding preserved lemon to Hummus.  Yum!


Storage of preserved lemons:

The lemons reach their peak after about 3 to 4 months.  To keep them from softening further, it is recommended to remove the lemons from the jar and remove the bulb and pith.  Mostly only the yellow rind is used for cooking.  

Once the lemons are stripped of the white pith, you will discover that the rind has lost most of its bitterness and has softened to a creamy texture.  Then store the rinds in a glass jar completely covered with olive oil for up to a year in the refrigerator.




preserved lemons

Mourad's Preserved Lemons & 4 Weeks of Patience

Chef Norbert
After a month, you will have an intense, concentrated lemony Umami bomb that can be used for dressings, seafood, grain salads, or the famous Moroccan chicken made with preserved lemon and olives
Prep Time 20 minutes
14 days
Total Time 14 days 20 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 36
Calories 0.1 kcal


  • 6 each lemon organic
  • 6 each lemon organic
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt


Scrub the lemons under cold water

  • Pour salt into a large bowl. Cut lemons as if you were cutting in quarters but stopping about 1/2 an inch above the stem. Holding the lemons over the bowl, open the lemons and pack the center with salt. (Approximately 2 tablespoons per lemon)
    6 each lemon, 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • Put the lemons cut side up into the jar, and repeat with as many lemons as the jar can hold. I am pushing them down hard so they are squeezed in tightly.

Juice the remaining lemons

  • Juice the remaining lemons one at a time and fill jars with juice until filled to the rim. Put the lid on the jar turning it until finger tight.
    6 each lemon

Have patience

  • Put the jars into a dark cool spot like your pantry and for the next week turn and shake the jars once a day to redistribute the salt. Add more lemon juice if you notice that the lemons are not submerged. That’s all there is to it, just let the jar sit there for a month and have some patience.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 0.1kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.03g | Protein: 0.004g | Fat: 0.001g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.001g | Sodium: 160mg | Potassium: 1mg | Fiber: 0.01g | Sugar: 0.01g

Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate

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  1. Jean and Reto says:

    We were fortunate to receive a jar already prepared by Norbert and added the lemon preserve to white rice. Our whole family enjoyed it. It has very intense flavor so nothing else was needed to flavor the rice.
    VIelen Dank fur days zitronenpreserve. Es hat sehr gut geschmeckt.

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