Preserved Meyer Lemons

Everyone in Berkeley seems to find access to a Meyer that produces a surplus of lemons. We've made Meyer Lemon Marmalade, Lemon Tarts, and lemon juice goes into just about everything from salad dressing to a cup of tea. A while back, our neighbor, Rich gave us a jar of his preserved Meyer lemons,  introducing us to yet another other means of enjoying the bountiful citrus. If you don't have Meyer lemons, other lemons will work in this recipe.

Preserving lemons is simple, yet they take a month to cure before you can use them. That leaves plenty of time to dream up recipes to put the lemons to good use. One such recipe is Braised Halibut with Pistachios and Preserved Lemons. My mouth waters when I think of how good the dish is.

Let me know if you have other favorite recipes that call for Preserved Lemons. I have a huge jar just starting to cure.

 borrowed from Rich, a beautiful cookbook, Modern Moroccan by Gjille Basan
  • 12 lemons (Meyers if you have them)
  • 10 tablespoons sea salt

Scrub lemons until nice and clean. Cut a thin slice from the tops and bottoms of 10 lemons. (Set 2 whole lemons aside to juice later.) Cut two deep intersecting slits in the 10 lemon. Make sure each lemon is still attached, but the center should be nice and accessible to receive lots of salt. Heap sea salt into each crevice. Squish salted lemons into a clean jar or two.

Let lemons sit jarred for 3-4 days allowing the skins to soften. Then press the lemons again and cover them with juice squeezed from the two remaining lemons. Be sure the curing lemons are completely covered with juice.

Store in the refrigerator for at least a month before using. As needed, pluck a preserved lemon from the jar, rinse off salt and use as directed by your recipe.

P is usually the preserving-guy in our house - it was fun to have my turn.


  1. This sounds amazing...sweet lemons cured with sea salt...yum... :)

    E, thank you so much for your kind word on DS :)

  2. I recently attempted to preserve lemons. The top one got all moldy. Did I do something wrong? I tossed those and used the bottom one, but I could not get that mold out of my mind and it ruined the whole thing for me. GREG

  3. Greg, what a bummer! Did you make sure that the tops lemons were covered in additional lemon juice? Did you refrigerate?
    Those are my first thoughts. I will also ask Rich, my preserved-lemon guy, if he has any thoughts for you.

  4. Rich says " a clean jar, clean lemon, and plenty of salt" are the keys to successfully preserved lemons.

  5. AnonymousMay 25, 2010

    I too tried my hand at preserving meyer lemons from a recipe in a Moroccan cookbook (very similar to this). I continued to add juice to the jar as directed , but still had trouble with some "floaters" though the jar was tightly packed. Top one got moldy...was too chicken to eat it and threw them out. I needed some sort of weight to keem them down in the juice, but couldn't devise one that worked.

  6. AnonymousJune 26, 2012

    I took new unused wooden chopsticks from chinese take out, broke them to the length of the neck of the jar and squished both chopsticks like an X over the lemons. That kept the lemons submerged. Tip: break it longer than you think you need.

    1. Such a cool idea! I'll do that on my next batch. Thanks for the tip:)


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