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45 responses to “Preserving Lemons”

  1. Linda

    What a great article Hank. I always have a jar or preserved Meyer lemons in the fridge to use in Moroccan cooking, or with green olives for a relish with halibut or in an aioli in spring. Pickled lemons add a bit of briteness to most dishes. and I recently made pickled limequats – waiting to see the results.
    I also enjoyed your recent article in Art of Eating. Recently you made some duck confit – do you have a recipe that you can share with us? Which of your ducks makes the best confit?

  2. Cecilia

    I love me some preserved lemons. Have you tried preserving other citrus in this manner, such as grapefruit? How do you think that would turn out? What about Kumquats? Must try. Thanks!

  3. nevasue

    Beautiful. And a good read, too! Thanks. Eager to try them here in Va., but, alas, from the grocer and not my tree.

  4. CitronVert

    I love it! I did preserved lemons last month: sorry it’s in french.

  5. Cindy

    I love lemons, thanks for pointing out all those great recipes. Hmmm, I’m craving lemonade now….

  6. Sarah

    Sweet. I was just picking lemons today and wondering what to do with them all. Thanks Hank. On another note, thanks for inspiring me to be a better cook and to use the whole bird. Tonight we had asparagus and ginger stir fry with duck. I used only the breast from the duck (teal) and used the rest to boil down into the broth. The broth went into the sauce, which had a bit of this and that, including scotch, and tasted wonderful. I never would have gone that far without your inspiration. I’m getting farther away from one pot meals than I ever expected too.

  7. Chppie

    You can also preserve limes. I have a recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s “World of the East Vegetarian Cooking” (an oldie but goodie) that uses limes and spices and salt. I’m using key limes this time to see if they are ready sooner. I would guess you could use strongly flavored lemons as well.

  8. Garrett

    I wish I had enough lemons to make this a mandatory for me. Alas, sadly, this is not the case.

  9. Arica

    Excellent piece of writing Hank! Informative, fun, and appetite whetting as usual.

    Have you heard of “Chanh Muoi” or Vietnamese salted lemonade?

    Go here for more info:

    In restaurants it is also common to use preserved limes. This concoction also tastes great as a cocktail, preferably mixed with Hangar One 🙂

  10. Dan

    Hank Great article. I was wondering how temperature plays a role in all of this. Right now room temperature is about 60 degrees in my apartment, and a ginger-ade ferment I tried went bad. Would we need to put a heater next to the jar to keep it near 75 degrees to make it more bacteria friendly?

  11. J.R. Young

    I was a little confused on the cut for the North African version, are you saying slice them lengthwise to open them up, but leave them whole?

    Also, do you know if this works with oranges? I’ve got a tree loaded with them and was going to make some marmalade but still have plenty left over from that.

  12. Bodega

    Bourdain has a good, simple recipe also in his cookbook. Now is the time to ask a neighbor if you can pick lemons from their tree, and fill a couple of jars.

  13. Nate @ House of Annie

    Well done article, with lots of great suggestions! Thanks for sharing.

    Since you are using homegrown lemons, would you like to enter this post in our Grow Your Own roundup this month?

  14. Graham

    I’m starting to think you are writing your blog just for me! I have 3 jars of preserved lemons in my fridge. I only made them because my lemon tree produced over 200 lemons, and I made lemon jam, lemon juice, lemonade, Limoncello, candied lemon rind, and lemon curd. It was the only other thing I could think of to prevent the lemons from spoiling. But I’ve been apprehensive in using them for the very reason you said. I don’t cook Moroccon food. Thank you for guiding me toward some other options.

  15. Joshua

    Preserved lemons are a fantastic addition to slow-cooked pork roasts and stews, too. I use them with pork butt and shoulder regularly.

  16. Hank Shaw, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook: Food Blogger Spotlight

    […] Preserving Lemons […]

  17. Kiwiswiss

    I love preserved lemons and have made them for a few years now, but haven’t ever added any chilli or mustard seeds, garlic etc, but definitely will. Thanks for the research!
    Don’t suppose you have any suggestions for unripe grapefruit? I’ve looked around the internet in vain. Apparently the Greeks do something…

  18. Vic Belbin

    I love your web site and use it extensively as a yard-stick against most other recipes. This is especially so with game recipes. I am in the process of pickling some llemons using one of your recipes and was wondering if with the passage of time you might now be able to update the shelf life of the various processes. Keep up the good work, as you are greatly appreciated, in particular, by the more adventurous cooks.

  19. lzavala

    I was looking for a recipe on preserving lemons and came across your article. What great information and great reading. My mom has a Meyer lemon tree and i can’t wait to get a couple of Mason jars and surprise her! Although she’s old school (92 and going strong!) and she knows all about canning and preserving. She has some funky looking vinegar fermenting right now. It looks funky but has great flavor. Thank you so much for your contribution and I enjoy reading all the comments.

  20. Peggy

    Just a comment about “being safe”. For the Eureka lemon, there are no known pathogens that could survive the acidity to cause illness. Lemons and salt were often used to preserve OTHER foods. The step of a water bath is not needed.

  21. annie

    Hi – thanks for informative article, it was a great read. I want to try pickling some of our home grown lemons but they’re so big I can’t fit them into the jar whole. Is is really essential that they aren’t sliced right through? I think I’ll need to quarter them!

  22. Rachel Davis

    Great article Hank – thank you! I’m guessing that you recommend sealing the Russian lemons as well, correct?

  23. when wife gives you lemons… | thecookhousegarden

    […] recipes, specifically Moroccan style preserved lemons; the best source I found was Hank’s blog.  I enjoyed his description of the many ways that preserved lemons have been used in […]

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    […] I made two types: classic salted, Moroccan style; and a spicy Indian version. Both recipes hail from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. […]

  25. 365 Project for 2012 – Day 143 | The Sustainable Sweet & Savory Gourmet

    […] local organic Meyer lemons.  I can’t wait to try them out.  I pulled the recipe from the Hunter Angler Gardener Cook – an awesome site you’ve got to check […]

  26. Abbie506

    This is my first visit here. I found the site/information for preserving lemons so informative!
    I am a lover of all things lemon, and in the past(before discovering acid errossion)
    I would eat lemons as though they were oranges, sectioned -and savoured!
    Tell me Hank, does the preservvation process affect the taste of the lemons ??? And how?
    I’m guessing it does and hoping not much other than increasing the intense lemon taste!!!

    Regards Hank!! Keep on blogging!

  27. Lots of Canning and Preserving « Sugar Snap

    […] that was fascinating. I did some searching online to see if others had attempted this, and I found this recipe helpful, as well as this one. I followed the Moroccan or American method from the first […]

  28. Lynn

    Started a batch of preserved lemons using a the Morocan/American method. They sat 5 days and the liquid started to turn reddish. Not a good sign. Amazes me as the lemons were covered with lemon juice with about 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Peculiar. I’ll have to start a new batch and perhaps water bath process, as you say!

  29. fran

    Thank you so much for this recipes on preserving lemons. My Meyer lemon tree produced an abundance this season and then my aunt gave me bushels from her tree. Tried my hand at preserving after I found your article. The problem I faced is that only about halve of my jars sealed after the water bath. Will that create a problem or is that typical. Wondering if I am doing something wrong, I followed your instructions for the American/Morocan method of preserving. Help please since I still have many many more lemons! Thank you.

  30. Christian Thomas

    I was doing some pickled lemons today, for the second time this year – the last time was for my mother in the Mediterranean, with lemons picked from a tree (which actually weren’t that juicy) – and I was just wondering what I’d left out apart from cloves. Or maybe that I’d made some immensely crass mistake. And that’s how I came across your site.

    I’ve bookmarked your site and if this piece is indicative of what else is here then it’s going to be brilliant to know! I’m a pretty competent cook in general, but I’m always forgetting what I did last time or what was in that recipe I stole from some restaurant. And I’ve never managed to keep that promise that I will write down what I did that worked, so I’m endlessly making it up from scratch and trying to imagine what would have been in there.

    What you have done here is fantastic and it’s so nice to get the breadth and the history as well. Believe me (or maybe please everyone else believe me) when I say that I recognise exactly the right things here; and it is so useful and instructive. None of this is difficult, and it’s lovely to have it presented plainly without any supposed magic attached to it because people have been doing this for centuries.

    I have a particular love of lamb, and have recently moved back from France, and I’m just getting those staples we need settled in my cupboards; the things that you can’t do without if you are going to cook properly, like sharp knives, a potato peeler that works, onions by the bagful etc.. One of these, indispensable if you’re going to do a tagine, is pickled lemons. Even if you have got perfectly made merguez in there it is still never quite good enough without the lemons – they give it that authenticity. And that reminds me that I’m going to have to remember how to make harrissa so I can get a couple of breasts of lamb for 90 pence to make those sausages …

    It looks brilliant. Thank you for your work.

    Christian Thomas

  31. Hank Shaw, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook: Food Blogger Spotlight

    […] Preserving Lemons […]

  32. Patty Rogers

    Do preserved lemons have to be refrigerated before opening?

  33. Patty

    Problem: How do you keep the lemons on the bottom? Mine float to the top and the liquid is cloudy. I used kosher sea salt, 1 tablespoon per lemon..some on bottom of jar and some on top. I did turn it to try to dissolve the salt. Should I have not done that?

  34. Patty

    Thanks so much for your help. I’m really anxious to use these lemons.

  35. Moroccan Preserved Lemons: Day #2 of All Citrus Week! - The View from Great Island

    […] They’ll be your new secret ingredient! If you want to read further about preserved lemons this post from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook is very […]

  36. Laura

    My daughter and I went on an adventure around the world with salted lemons, starting with a case of small lemons. Not only did we do lots of internet research, we personally met women from around the world who make and use salted lemons in their favorite home cooking.

    After reading the internet,talking to cousins who grew up in the south, old friends from Jordan, new friend from Israel, a beautiful Tibetan woman who lives in North India we met on the beach, good food is indeed the international language.

    DD and I settled on a basic recipe which could be adapted and enjoyed by everyone. Lemons, salt, peppercorns. For the extra lemon juice I used my VitaMix and not a juice extractor. I juiced peel and lemon, discarding most of the pith. This completely maximizes the anti-oxidant properties and flavor.

    1 case of small lemons gave us 2 cases of pint jars, 1/2 gallon crock and 1 quart crock of the most awesome, eye-popping, versatile treat ever. Lemon pickles go way beyond their traditional roots.

  37. Colman Andrews

    You mention that the earliest reference you can find in English to preserving lemons is in Mrs. Rundell’s book from 1808. In fact there’s one in “The Experienced English Housekeeper”by Elizabeth Raffald, published in 1769. In fact she goes on about how the combination of lemon pickle and “browning”(the ancestor of Kitchen Bouquet and suchlike)”answers for both beauty and taste” is sauces better than “cullis” (strong beef stock).

  38. Kim Head

    My top lemons have gone a little brown and don’t seem to be covered in the liquid are they still ok to use??

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