Lemons and how to preserve them

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Today I am writing about an experiment. I have no clue whether it will work or not in its virginal attempt but I thought I’d tell you anyway because … I am excited. I have had a go at preserving lemons, which I can then use to accentuate the flavours of tagine dishes. And apparently I could even exepriment with cakes and deserts that use preserved lemons.

Lemons, their colour, their scent, their flavour, their overall character brightness, mean happiness to me. My friend Becks loves the Forsythia hedge in our garden for its yellow flowers and the tone of happiness they bring into our house. They light up the scene. Lemons and their sunshine hue have the same effect on me.

So on a gloomy day like this, when the sun might have gone on holiday to Spain, what better idea than to surround yourself with the colour yellow and cheer your self up! Have a lemonade and wear something yellow!

Ingredients for preserved lemons

Enough for a 10cm diameter jar and about 8 cm height

4 Lemons for preserving

1 Lemon for juice

1 Bay leaf

Some peppercorns

4 Heaped tbsp coarse salt

Additional coarse salt for jar layering


20min and 1 month preservation (at least)

Wash unwaxed lemons really well.

Juice the juiciest of lemons. Then slice the leftover skin in strips.

Layer the bottom of the jar with a couple of heaped tbsp of coarse salt.

Cut the four lemons in four but avoid cutting through them. Cut along the middle of the lemon first and then across.

Pull the flesh of each lemon open and add 1 or more tbsp of heaped salt inside it.

Add lemons to the jar snuggly and top with more coarse salt.

Sprinkle with peppercorns between layers.

Add bay leaves to the sides of the jar.

Top with strips of the juiced lemon flesh and top with more salt.

Pour the lemon juice over the contents of the jar.

Push down lemons with a wooden spoon to bring lemon juices out.

Seal and wait patiently for at least a month for your lemons to preserve.

Lia’s Notes:

  • You can also use limes. I added one lime to make the experiment more interesting.
  • Salt takes away the lemons bitterness. Same effect it has on aubergines when you prepare them for cooking.
  • You can keep preserved lemons for about a year.
  • My tinterweb research reveals thta Meyer lemons are the best for preserved lemons. I just used what I had.
  • I decided to use flavourings inspired by Snowflake Kitchen’s Blog and as I have bay leaves in abundance all year around.
  • Zoe English makes the best preserved lemons I have tried. Fact. She has ecnouraged me to do my own. Who she is I am sure you will find out soon 🙂
  • Punk Domestics, a directory of cooks and community activity and a gateway to cookery blogs, is how I learnt to preserve lemons.
  • Through Punk Domestics, I filtered down my preferred preserved lemon recipes which in addition to Snowflake Kitchen’s Blog can be seen on the One tomato, two tomato, The view from the Island (with star anise) and Head Space Canning blogs.
  • Enjoy preserving sunshine!


Lemons and how to preserve them on Punk Domestics

2 thoughts on “Lemons and how to preserve them

    purplefdu said:
    May 13, 2013 at 6:39 am

    I just started my first jar(s) on April 22nd. I was lucky enough to find a buttload of nice small and larger Meyers for $1/bag, so I figured why not try them out? I made one plain and one with allspice, cinnamon, and star anise (for use in making preserved lemon curd). I ended up starting another plain one a week later, and tonight I finished with another larger jar of plain Meyers, and a smaller jar of plain limes. The Meyers do indeed progress quickly (I added a regular lemon to each of the original jars to gauge). I can’t wait to try them out in another week or so. I’m not sure my husband will ever eat a tangine, but for flavoring marinades, rice and lemon curd (via Phickle) I can’t imagine a better use.

    matt said:
    May 13, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    NOt to sound stupid, and I know I can just google this but, what do you do with the preserved lemons?

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