Friday, January 11, 2013

Preserved Lemons

It's that time of year again, when citrus is in season and time to preserve some lemons! Buy a bunch while they're cheap and preserve now to use throughout the year. Although they are good for almost anything you'd use lemon in, they are especially good in middle eastern dishes.

The recipe is pretty basic, you really only need lemons and salt. For a pint sized jar, it takes approx. 1/4 cup salt. Start by layering a 1/2" layer of salt on the bottom of the jar. Cut through the clean lemons length-wise but leaving bottom attached. (I like to remove as many seeds as possible at this point) Sprinkle the inside with more salt. Cram into the jar tightly and top off with lemon juice so that lemons stay under liquid as much as possible. I can never get them to stay completely under the liquid, so every day for the first several days, I open the jar and push them under with the back of a spoon. From this starting point, the recipe can be as simple or complex as you like, by adding more spices. I like to add bay leaves, coriander seeds and fennel.
This year I left the jar out on the counter for about 5 days and let the lemons ferment a bit before storing them in the fridge. I love this old french canning jar I got at a garage sale, just needed a new seal. Lucky the sizes are pretty standard.

Anyone else making preserved lemons? What spices do you like to add?


  1. I am definitely experiencing the involuntary "lemon response" reading this! Never heard of preserving lemons in this way. They look so beautiful in the jar - all the salt? Can you taste it when you use the lemons later?

    I freeze lemon juice in cubes and grated peel as well. I am intrigued with this new idea!!!

  2. you can taste the salt, but I don't find it overwhelming.... mostly I use these in cooked dishes, so I eliminate any other added salt, might not be ideal for someone watching their salt, but it's only really a little at a time