Lemon Delicious: How to Make Preserved Lemons


Lemon Delicious: How to Make Preserved Lemons
The tangy goodness of lemon makes it one of nature’s most popular and versatile fruits. For a delicious and useful addition to your pantry, why not try preserving your own.

Preserved Lemons Recipe

Makes about 3 x 2-cup jars


6 thin-skinned lemons

¾ cup sea salt

3 dried bay leaves

3 cinnamon quills

15 black peppercorns

15 coriander seeds

12 whole cloves

8-10 lemons, juiced, extra


Wash lemons in cold water and scrub with a brush to remove any wax. Cut lemons into quarters lengthways, taking care not to cut right through at base. Spoon 1 tablespoon of salt into each cut lemon and rub in. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt into the base of each jar. Use glass jars with glass lids. Metal lids will rust. Place lemons into jars, fitting tightly.

Add bay leaves, cinnamon quills, peppercorns, coriander seeds and cloves. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt over lemons. Fill jars to top with lemon juice. Secure lid and turn jars to mix ingredients. Store in a cool, dark place for 6 weeks to preserve.

Ripe lemon on the tree


How to Grow Lemons

Relatively easy to grow, lemon trees should be planted in a spot that gets plenty of sunlight; or, you can try raising dwarf varieties in a pot. If you live in a chilly area, grow your trees in containers and bring them under cover when it gets really cold. Give the tree a good soak the day before planting, and dig a hole twice as wide as it is deep. Water extensively during spring and summer, and be sure the water penetrates deep into the ground. Feed lemons with citrus fertiliser monthly.

How to Cook Lemons

Lemons, with a peak season between June and March, are one of the most useful and versatile fruits. Believed to have originated in Northern India and Pakistan, the lemon was then adopted into Arabic cuisine. The Arabs planted lemons in Sicily and Andalusia, where they still thrive. Today, a quarter of the world’s lemons are grown in the US, primarily in California.

Lemons are high in Vitamin C and flavonoids. Also, the membrane between lemon segments is a good source of pectin. When buying lemons, look for fruit with a firm, unblemished, glossy skin. Lemons will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator or up to one week at cool room temperature.

Dishes that have become classics using lemons include French citron tart, Italian limoncello liqueur, English lemon curd, lemon meringue pie, soufflés, and jams and jellies because of the high pectin levels. Lemons also partner well with veal, lamb, seafood and chicken.

These baking recipes make the most of the sweet, but tart lemons. Start baking with lemons today!

How to Use Lemons

To check that your preserved fruit is ready, use a fork to remove one wedge of lemon from the jar. Remove pulp from skin. If the pith is still white, reseal and store for another week.

To use the preserved lemons, remove pith from skin with a small sharp knife. Discard pulp and wash skin under cold water. Thinly slice or finely dice. When you remove wedges from the jar, cover remaining fruit with olive oil. This prevents mould forming and the lemons from drying out. Return to refrigerator.

To use your preserved fruit:

  • Add to tagines and casseroles.
  • Finely chop and fold through dressings.
  • Finely dice and add to soft butter with herbs. Roll in baking paper and refrigerate until firm. Serve with a chargrilled lamb or veal cutlet.
  • Finely chop and mix with diced tomato, red onion and parsley to add to the top of baked or fried fish.


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