you may remember from my last go round at pickling that i like to keep it simple when it comes to these sorts of adventures.  and i also die a small death at the thought of waiting weeks or months to enjoy the fruits of my labor (har har).  traditionally preserved lemons are made by quartering lemons, cramming as many of them as you can fit into a jar, filling up all the rest with kosher salt, seasonings and the juice from the lemons.  they’re amazing, but require THIRTY TO FORTY DAYS of relentless waiting.  to me this sounds about as satisfying as watching my fingernails grow.  i am so much more of an instant (or at least one week) gratification kind of gal. and so when i discovered mention of this shortcut route in my research i pretty much fell off my chair, picked myself up as quickly as i could and ran into the kitchen to start thinly slicing lemons and shoving them into a jar. {more after the jump}


7-9 small meyer lemons (regular lemons will also do but i prefer meyer when possible!)

roughly 1/4 cup of sea salt



– thoroughly scrub, clean and dry lemons, preferably organic and the freshest you can find

– slice the lemons as thinly as you can manage, saving the ends to squeeze into the jar later.  remove any seeds that come along

– layer the sliced lemons in a wide mouth mason jar (1 pint), covering with sea salt as you go (from what i’ve read you should not use table salt as it’s too processed and filled with chemicals).  be generous with the salt, you’ll rinse it off when you’re ready to eat them! pack them in as tightly as possible.

– squeeze juice from lemon ends into the jar, filling up any extra air space with juice. (leave a little bit of breathing room at the top!)

– store lemons in a cool dark place for one week

– lemons are ready to eat when the peels are soft.  rinse off before using.

*this is definitely more time consuming than quartering the lemons, but totally worth it in my opinion to cut down on the time it will take to get to the eating part!!!

**i’m not sure exactly how long these will last for a family that doesn’t scarf them up quickly, but it should be at least 6 months (i read that they can last up to 2 years but i’d be a little weary, personally, of eating a 2 year old lemon)

*** these can be chopped and mixed in with pasta and grain dishes, added to salads, mixed in with vegetables, and used in sandwiches.  there are a million and one ways to incorporate these into your cooking!  i’ll post a couple of specific recipe ideas in the next week or two…

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Reader Comments

  1. sarah yates|

    @laurel, @lyss- Yes, you put them in the refrigerator and keep them un there until they're eaten up! 🙂 @lyss I imagine you could do the same with limes… 🙂

  2. Jarome|

    Preserving foods is something I want to learn over my kitchen. Thank you for the idea you've shared to us.

  3. sarah yates|

    ooh, love the idea of giving these as pretty gifts. that's how i first found out about preserved lemons, a friend gave me a jar and it had the cutest little tag with ideas for cooking with them!

    so happy you all like this so much! can't wait to share some ways to use them! xx

  4. Lyss|

    I love this post! I hate having to throw away fruit and I like how convenient this makes incorporating real lemons into drinks and dishes (especially up here in Canada). Do you need to keep it in the fridge after the one "dark" week? Also, just wondering – could you also do this with limes?

  5. Laurel|

    Can't wait to try this! One question though, once they are preserved and you've opened the jar to use them, do you still store them in the cupboard or can they be stored in the refrigerator?

    • Mary|

      Any citrus will do. In the end you can also blend all together to more easily incorporate into dishe. Just return to same jar. Yes. After first week, keep in fridge. Lasts up to a year.

    • Amie|

      MIne were quite salty, and I rinsed them. Not sure I will make these again, though I liked the idea of it.

      • Sarah Yates|

        Hi Amie! They’re supposed to be salty- if you mix them into a salad, dressing or sauce it works out (I don’t recommend eating them plain). Search the site for recipes to use them with- I use them a lot! 🙂

  6. Marta|

    Hi there, eveerything is going sound here and ofcourse every one is sharing facts, that’s genuibely excellent, eep up writing.

  7. Taylor|

    Instead of salt could I use sugar instead? Has anyone tried it this way before?

  8. Tijana|

    Made them and they are wonderful! i like them more sliced and when i saw this recipe, i knew i had to make them. I live in Macedonia where people haven’t heard about preserved lemons and everybody that tried them, liked them! They were eating them with bread. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Will make them by your recipe forever.

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  10. Yvonne Dobiash|

    Finally you recipe givers have a space toake comments. I’m excited to figure out ways to use this. I love lemons. I will report back to let you know what I’ve made. What do you make with these lemons. Anyway thank for sharing.

  11. Lila Mickey|

    Love these they will keep for a long time. What I do I don’t rinse but put the slices in the cavity of a roasting chicken or/and between skin of the chicken so good