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How to preserve lemons

Recipe by:Chef/co-owner Gayle Pirie
Foreign Cinema Restaurant, San Francisco


  • Sterilized quart canning jar
    1/2 cup kosher salt, or more if needed
    8 to 10 Meyer lemons, scrubbed very clean (see note)
    Additional fresh-squeezed lemon juice


Place 2 tbsp. salt in the bottom of the jar. One by one, prepare the lemons in the following way: Cut off any protruding stems and cut 1/4 inch off the tip of each lemon. Cut lemons as if you were going to cut them in half lengthwise, starting from the tip, but do not cut all the way. Keep the lemon attached at the base. Make another cut in a similar manner, so now the lemon is quartered, but again, attached at the base.

Pry the lemons open and generously sprinkle salt over the inside and outside of the lemons.

Pack lemons in the jar, squishing them down so that juice is extracted and the juice rises to the top of the jar. Fill the jar with lemons, making sure the top is covered with lemon juice. Add more fresh-squeezed lemon juice if necessary. Top with a couple tablespoons of salt.

Seal the jar according to standard canning procedures and let sit at room temperature for a couple days. Turn the jar upside down occasionally. Put in the refrigerator and let sit, again turning upside down occasionally, for at least 3 weeks, until lemon rinds soften.

To use, remove a lemon from the jar and rinse thoroughly in water to remove salt. Discard seeds before using. Discard the pulp before using, if desired.

Note: You may substitute regular lemons for the Meyer lemons. However, milder Meyer lemons work very well for preserving in this way.

Califonia Bountiful