Chilli and Rosemary Preserved Lemons

, from Issue #81. November, 2018
Photography by Vanessa and Michael Lewis.
Chilli and Rosemary Preserved Lemons

This is not so much a recipe as a preparation guide – you can make single or multiple batches.


10 medium lemons
½ cup sea salt
1 cinnamon stick
8 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
1 fresh chilli or use ¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes


3 cup capacity sterilised jar with a glass or plastic-coated lid.

Scrub 6 of the lemons and dry well. Cut each lemon lengthwise from the top so it opens out like a flower, stopping 1cm from the bottom so it stays intact.

Put the salt in a medium bowl and, working with 1 lemon at a time, pack 1 tablespoon of salt into each, on the exposed flesh, then reshape.

Sprinkle the base of the jar with some of the salt then push the lemons in so they’re tightly packed, adding the extra flavouring options in layers as you go.

Start juicing the extra lemons, adding enough so it completely covers the lemons.

Seal and leave in a cool place at room temperature to ripen for 4 weeks, shaking the jar daily to redistribute the salt and juice.

To use: Using a fork (not your fingers), remove the quantity needed and scrape off the flesh and discard. Wipe off excess liquid and slice or dice the skin. Refrigerate after opening. Makes 1 jar.