In 1988 Paula Wolfert’s cookbook,  WORLD OF FOODS,  introduced me to PRESERVED LEMONS.    The dishes in this book share common elements:  deep, earthy flavours;  richness without heaviness; and “big” flavour.  Paula Wolfert is probably America’s most outstanding food writer.    This book  conveys the irresistible sheer pleasure of preparing extraordinary food.  I have loved every recipe I’ve cooked from any of her books.

PRESERVED LEMONS gives you that oh so important bold flavour.  Use them in salads, to finish tagines, and definitely in Caesar Salads.   The recipe is quick and simple.  Make lots because they keep months  in your refrigerator.  Put them into small jars.  They make dazzling gifts.


2 Ripe lemons,      1/3 cup kosher salt (coarse),      1/2 cup lemon juice,      olive oil

Scrub the lemons and dry well.  Cut each lemon into four quarters leaving the bottom still attached.  (so you’re not quite cutting all the way through).

Fan the lemons and pack as much salt as you can between the wedges.  Pack them into a 1/2 pint glass jar with a glass or plastic-coated lid.    Cover them with lemon juice (I use Real Lemon).  Close the jar tightly and let the lemons ripen at room temperature for 7 days, shaking the jar each day to distribute the salt and juice.  To store, add olive oil to cover and refrigerate for up to six months.  I always use at least 6-8 lemons.  What luxury to have these lemons tucked away in your larder.  Share them they are so wonderful.

To use rinse the salt from the lemon wedge, peel the flesh away and toss.    Then  finely slice and enjoy the amazing salty lemon flavour.



  1. Thanks for these tips, Virginia. I’ve used lemons for salad dressings and a little lemon is also good on mashed potatoes. That sounds crazy, but it’s really good. Wishing you also a lovely Mother’s Day! xx

  2. Jotting down the recipe now, Virginia! I’m mad about lemons. I drink about six glasses of lemon water on a daily basis. Thanks! T. (Whenever I buy lemons, I present them to my husband and say with a straight face: “Look what life just me.” He laughs and laughs, The joke never gets old. Silly ritual.)

    • It is these “silly rituals” that make up the fabric of a dear and loving relationship. There are dozen of so of these one liners that pop up frequently between the Lar and myself and we absolutely delight in them. It is almost a secret language between those we love. XX V.

    • Oh joy – your name is lemon and ANYTHING made with lemon is delicious. May Meyer lemon tree is heavy with fruit but is yet to turn that gorgeous yellow. XXOO V.

    • To fan you lemon you cut it in quarters from the top of the lemon to not quite down the to the bottom. You fan (pull the four sections apart) the lemon and stuff the centre with kosher salt and squish it back together again. Then you stuff it down into the jar. Voila Resa. XX V.

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