Using Your Preserved Lemons: Chutney & More

The preserved lemons are ready! Remember the bowl full of salted lemons? They’ve been in the back of my refrigerator in a mason jar for three weeks, and they are cured and begging to jump into my belly. But it will take time and repeated practice to remember to use it. So how does it taste? One word: ZING.


Any time lemon zest or juice is called for in recipe, try subbing preserved lemon. The following chutney and relish recipes are toppings or mix-ins to your favorite recipes. The chutney is complex due to the spices and the relish is fresh thanks to the herbs. 


Put these in hummus, on toast, spring rolls, on salmon or white fish, chickpeas and rice, mixed in to bitter greens, and mixed into Greek yogurt. I’m hoping these become my go-to condiments!


Lastly, consider the gin and tonic as spring has sprung and summer is around the corner. I am transitioning from my usual pomegranate gin martini to this preserved lemon recipe. This gin and tonic obsession started in June 2011 just after the tornado. Ann Leach and I were temporarily living in the home of the generous Lauren Stauffer. The three of us were serving on the board of Spiva at the time. Ann had just lost her house. I had just sold my house. Ann and I sipped on these together late at night to get through the days.


Since then, we all have experienced more traumas, but even more joy and growth. I know I will be toasting then 10-year anniversary of the tornado with my gin and tonic and tasty snacks found here. Cheers and onward!




Date and Lemon Chutney




½ cup pitted dried dates

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped ginger

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ cup finely chopped preserved lemons

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar




Combine dates, brown sugar, ginger, coriander, cardamom and a good pinch of salt in a saucepan with 1 cup water and simmer, covered, until dates are very soft (20-25 minutes). Add preserved lemon and vinegar, then blend in a food processor until smooth. Cool chutney, then add salt to taste – it should taste sweet and sour. Chutney will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 weeks.


-adapted from the Gourmet Traveller



Lemon and Herb Relish



2 whole preserved lemons, rinsed of excess salt, seeds removed, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (or other favorite fresh herbs)
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Ground black pepper




Combine all ingredients and serve.


-adapted from Simply Recipes



Salty Lemon Gin and Tonic




¼ preserved lemon 

2 fluid ounces gin 

2 cups ice cubes, or as needed 

4 fluid ounces tonic water 

1 small sprig fresh rosemary




Remove the pulp from the lemon with a sharp knife and discard, saving the peel. Lightly rinse peel with cool water. Slice off a thin sliver of peel and set aside for garnish.


Combine lemon peel and gin in a shaker. Muddle lemon until slightly crushed. Add 1 cup ice to the shaker, cover, and shake until chilled, 15 to 20 seconds.


Fill a rocks glass with ice and strain cocktail over the ice. Top with tonic water. Garnish with lemon sliver and rosemary sprig.