How to preserve lemons

In this brief article, we will answer ‘’How to preserve lemons’’. This article will also answer how to store lemons properly and the shelf life of lemons. Moreover, this article will also tell various ways in which preserved lemons can be used. 

How to preserve lemons?

Lemons are preserved in salt and their own acidic juice for about a month before using it in dishes. Preserved lemons are very famous as a side dish and help to eat lemons for a long time without any bacteria attacking them. 

  1. Buy canning jars to preserve lemons

You will need a canning jar which keeps the air tightly locked inside the jar. Add just enough kosher salt in this jar to preserve the lemons. The canning jars should be cleaned in hot water and put upside down to dry them completely. 

  1. Clean and cut the lemons 

Clean the lemons that need to be preserved by rubbing them to remove any kind of dirt on them. After cleaning the lemons cut the lemons into four pieces without cutting through it so it opens like a flower. 

Seeds are removed from preserved lemons because they can make lemons bitter which ultimately makes it difficult to use them as a side dish or in meals. 

  1. Kosher salt to preserve lemons 

Put kosher salt in the opening of the lemon and also all around the lemon. Put these lemons inside the jar packed with each other so that the juice comes out and the lemons are covered in juice and salt. 

If you see that the juice is not covering all the lemons, don’t hesitate to add more juice and kosher salt. 

  1. Storing the jars 

After closing the lid tightly, keep this jar at room temperature for a few days by putting it on the counter. Make sure that you tilt it upside down after a few days to make sure that the juice covers the whole jar. 

After a few days at room temperature, store the jar inside a refrigerator and let it sit there for a few weeks while occasionally tilting the jar. If you want to use it, rinse the lemon thoroughly before using it.

Shelf life of preserved lemons 

Preserved lemons can be used for up to 6 months. As they have a very high acid content, they can stay fresh without any bacterial growth. The lemon juice in the jar keeps the lemons juicy when you take them out, a lot of times these preserved lemons can stay good for about a year too.

Where to keep the preserved lemons?

Preserved lemons will stay fresh outside a fridge on the counter as well. Therefore, you don’t necessarily have to refrigerate them. Refrigerating them will not increase the shelf life, they will last for a year nonetheless. 

This is one of the advantages of preserving lemons in their own juice and salt that they can be placed on the kitchen counter as well. 

How to use preserved lemons

You can use preserved lemons with almost every dish, from stews to meat. These tangy lemons will add a very rich flavor to your food. Preserved lemons are mostly used in the Middle east as a side dish with meals.

Adding preserved lemon into a simple pasta

You can use preserved lemons instead of the normal ones in roast chicken, fish and even grilled meat. You can also use them in salsa and some Moroccan dishes to create a different cuisine. A simple pasta can be made exciting by adding preserved lemons along with other ingredients.

Preserved lemons in salads

If you want to use preserved lemons in salad, cut them into smaller pieces and add to the salad which will enhance the flavour. Different sauces can also be spiced up by adding some lemon into them.

How to choose lemons for preserving

If you decide to preserve lemons, look for Meyer lemons which are much sweeter as compared to the normal lemons with less tanginess as well. If you can’t find Meyer lemons then regular lemons can be used as well, they will be preserved in just the same way. 

Is freezing the same as preserving lemons?

No, freezing lemons is another way of increasing their shelf life but it is very different from preserving lemons. While preserving lemons will not change the texture and taste of the lemons, freezing lemons might change the taste. 

Other FAQs about Lemon that you may be interested in.

How does lemon juice remove the odor of the fish?

Benefits of drinking lemon juice at night

How long do lemons last in the fridge?


In this brief article, we answered  ‘’How to preserve lemons’’. This article also answered how to store lemons properly and the shelf life of lemons. Moreover, this article also told various ways in which preserved lemons can be used.  


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