How to Preserve Lemons

by Kate Koeppel

Easy method to pickle lemons in salt for savory dishes, roasting, salad dressing and ethnic cooking. Excellent flavor, use in place of fresh lemon in savory dishes.


  • Several Lemons
  • Non-iodized salt (sea salt or kosher salt)
  • Clean jar with lid
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Citrus reamer
  • Optional spices: bay leaf, black pepper, etc)
  • Instructions

    Step 1

    Make sure the salt is non-iodized, otherwise your lemons will have a strong aftertaste

    Step 2

    Meyer lemons produce a milder flavor, but any kind will do

    Step 3

    Wash your lemons and dry them completely

    Step 4

    Wash and dry the jar(s) you plan to use. Any size jar will work. Sterilization is not necessary for this kind of preserving, since the citrus and salt will work together to preserve the lemons

    Step 5

    Optional spice: bay leaves

    Step 6

    Optional spice: whole peppercorns

    Step 7

    Optional spice: dried chilies

    Step 8

    Slice your lemon in half, then slice in half almost but not entirely through the rind, then repeat that cut again so the lemon is quartered, but still in one piece

    Step 9

    Here the lemon is quartered, but still in one piece

    Step 10

    Add salt to cover the bottom of the jar. No need to measure the salt!

    Step 11

    Press the lemon into the salt, then place in jar

    Step 12

    Add the lemon half to the jar, then shake the jar with the lid on to fully coat the lemon. Add more salt if the lemon is not coated well.

    Step 13

    Repeat this step until your jar is full of lemons, adding salt as necessary so lemon is well coated

    Step 14

    Use the juicer and fill your jar with lemon juice at least half way to help the preserving process

    Step 15

    Seal the jar by screwing the lid on tightly if you do not wish to add spices

    Step 16

    Add spices of your choosing, then seal jar.

    Step 17

    Shake jar daily to coat lemons, and store in a bright sunny location. Over the course of one week the juice level should increase, if not, open jar and add more lemon juice

    Step 18

    After 4-6 weeks lemons should intensify in color. Be sure to shake jar weekly after the first week. When the color has darkened, lemons should be ready. Lemons on right are ready to eat

    Step 19

    The texture will be softer, and the fragrance stronger. Slice lemon (including rind) and add to salad dressing, roasts and other dishes. Lemons keep in sealed jar for 6 months, no refrigeration needed