05 Mar2011

Preserved Meyer Lemons

by Marketman


Sister arrived with a bounty of Meyer lemons in her luggage. Unfortunately, they were worse for wear from the trip, bruised in the luggage or upset with the nearly frozen temperatures in the hold of the plane. I have written about Meyer lemons before, and they are apparently a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange, and hail from China originally. I had asked Sister to bring some as I wanted to make a Meyer lemon pie and maybe some preserved meyer lemons or lemon peel. But with the lemons in bad shape, I needed to use them quick!


I had seen this post several months ago on preserved moroccan lemons by David Lebovitz so I decided to give that recipe a try. My first attempt at preserving lemons simply in salt and lemon juice went very well, and I loved having them in the fridge for months, to be slowly used in tagines, pasta dishes, etc., but I wanted to try something new. Mr. Lebovitz addition of a few spices and the suggested use of Meyer lemons certainly felt like the right recipe to explore…


Detailed descriptions are in the link above, but essentially I washed the lemons, cut off the ends and quartered them without cutting all the way through the lemons. Next we put kosher salt in-between the slices and placed them snugly in a glass jar.


I added a small cinnamon stick, siling labuyo (bird’s eye chilies) and bay leaves and more salt (this time some large crystals of native organic sea salt from ritual) and meyer lemon juice to cover.


Closed the bottle and left them out on the counter for 3-4 days before sticking them in the back of the fridge for another 10 days. They are now ready for use in various dishes, and will keep for many months in the fridge.


We just used some for a chicken tagine and the preserved lemons were absolutely wonderful. Definitely noticeably better than using just plain lemons. And the spices were subtle but apparent. The next time you make preserved lemons, and don’t have Meyer lemons, try this fakeout. Instead of using just lemon juice, use a mixture of half lemon juice and half mandarin orange juice. :)

You may wish to check-out this Gourmet Magazine recipe for pasta with crab meat and preserved lemons, it was fantastic!



  1. Carol says:

    Thanks for this, MM. I will try this sometime. May I ask where you got those lovely storage jars? I have been looking where I can buy some good quality storage jars. Many thanks and have a great weekend!

    Mar 5, 2011 | 9:24 am


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  3. Mari says:

    I’ve been meaning to make some preserved lemons for quite sometime now…I finally got a hold of meyer lemons at Whole Foods recently but got sidetracked and didn’t get to eat right away. So decided to just make a marmalade out of it…now after your post, I am dying to make this ASAP. Gotta go back to Whole Foods…

    Thanks MM! Will definitely have to do this soon.

    Mar 5, 2011 | 9:57 am

  4. Jerome says:

    I will definitely try this. Yesterday, I had a middle-eastern beef dish in Persian Grill with some beans, chickpeas and potatoes stewed with preserved lemons and (I presume) tomatoes, wine, and saffron. It was so good that I thought of trying it. This solves my problem of where to find preserved lemons. Thanks.

    Mar 5, 2011 | 9:57 am

  5. louinsanfran says:

    After a good harvest of meyer lemons, we give away bags and bags to friends and after a few weeks, we still end up with quite a few of them going bad. That’s not going to happen anymore. Thank you for this immensely useful technique. The pics are a wonderful study in yellow.

    Mar 5, 2011 | 10:40 am

  6. Anne :-) says:

    MM, I’ve loved lemons all my life….I was wondering, could be using lime will yiled the same results?

    Mar 5, 2011 | 12:43 pm

  7. Junb says:

    I wonder if it will elevates pinoy dish if you use preserve lemons on sweet & sour lapu lapu, pangat, sisig, kilawin isda, etc …

    Mar 5, 2011 | 1:00 pm

  8. millet says:

    my mouth is watering just looking at the pictures!

    Mar 5, 2011 | 1:47 pm

  9. fried-neurons says:

    Cool, that’s something I’ll definitely try. I just bought a dwarf meyer lemon tree for my backyard. The tree already has some fruit, though not a lot. Next year should be a lot better, so I’ll probably wait until then to try the preserve.

    Mar 5, 2011 | 2:12 pm

  10. Vanessa says:

    The many things you can do when life gives you lemons.

    Mar 5, 2011 | 2:31 pm

  11. Piperpee says:

    Hi MM! Oh lemons!!! I’ve been lurking here for quite some time now and it is just now that I’ve gathered courage to leave a mark here. Was just wondering how the labuyo will make wonders on your lemon preservation? Totally intrigued by it, as I’m afraid to try pa. Baka madisgrasya.

    Btw, I’ve been meaning to ask also if you have tips on how to marinate poultry, yung tipong nanonoot yung flavours sa loob especially after deep frying or grilling. Thanks so much! :)

    Mar 5, 2011 | 5:22 pm

  12. rachel says:

    Carol, The Container Store has some really nice jars and if you have Sur La Table in your area, they have those as well.

    Mar 5, 2011 | 9:29 pm

  13. juli says:

    I have tried preserving lemons way back in Hong Kong but never with chilies and bay leaf. Must try this. I used preserved lemon peel for couscous and prawn salad and other moroccan dishes. Also used preserved lemons in cooking steamed banak. Yummy.

    Mar 5, 2011 | 10:46 pm

  14. betty q. says:

    Carol: I find that thrift stores have tons of storage jars of all shapes and sizes at a fraction of the price. Garage sales and Craigslist also have tons on offer. Then I will have more pocket money to spend on the raw ingredients to put stuff in it. Say for instance, I think I will spend the extra money I have saved on buying the jars at thrift stores on DRIED SCALLOPS! Just give the jars a good clean wash in the dishwasher and they are good as new! Just make sure that it is thoroughly dry and then give the metal thing or that flip flop thing a thin coating of oil….get serviettes and a drop of oil on it and rub it on that metal thing before storing so it will not rust.

    If I make something and put stuff to give away, I put stickers on it say for instance MM’s meyer lemon preserve, I will put lemon stickers (found in Dollar stores) on the jars to make it presentable and embellish that metal flip flop thing with raffia. Then attach a nice small piece of scrapbooking paper in the of a lemon and write down a recipe using the lemons in the jar. Nice?

    Mar 6, 2011 | 4:22 am

  15. thelma says:

    i have two trees that are loaded with meyer lemons. thanks for your suggestions, mm.
    now i can preserve some in bottles and give away some to family and friends.

    Mar 6, 2011 | 4:59 am

  16. linda says:

    I went to the market yesterday and bought 1 whole little preserved lemon for $3.00 Next time I’ll make my own. Oneday,I made imbento using calamansi rind, I just drizzled salt on the squeezed calamansi halves,then squeeze on it a bit of the juice and let it marinade for a few minutes, then I sliced the rind in slivers and garnished my bisteak with this.Everyone wanted the recipe:)

    Mar 6, 2011 | 7:28 am

  17. Footloose says:

    So BettyQ is one of those crafty ladies who tie objects with jute twine eh. And the thrift stores would also be the first place I’d look if in need of pickle jars. Fortunately, the quantity of empty jars I keep is only limited by my storage space. Am always on the look out for them picking up all sorts of stuff with an eye on its container. Those nice spring lock French jars I get with fruit preserves from Eastern Europe that they put on clearance at Home Sense or Winners all the time along with cornichon pickles and industrial quantity Dijon mustard. When Marks & Spencer had a presence in Canada, I use to go there right after Christmas to pick up half-priced fruit preserves from England mainly for their containers, the jewel of jelly jars made in Germany by Weck.

    And speaking of jars, the jar of calamansi marmalade that a generous gentleman sent me is still being spread sparingly on homemade pandesal. Bright bursts of sunshine in these dull gray days of pre-Spring thaw.

    Mar 6, 2011 | 7:30 am

  18. krissy says:

    Wish I could trade you some meyer lemons for mangosteens! But juicing, then freezing the lemon juice in an airtight container, still makes for a good lemon pie, or southern lemon icebox pie.

    Mar 6, 2011 | 12:27 pm

  19. Carol says:

    Hi Betty and Rachel – many thanks for those tips on where to find the jars, esp BettyQ’s nice ideas on how to package them for gifts. I actually live in the Philippines, it’s just that when I am logged on to my office server, my location shows that I am in the US :). I actually saw these gorgeous jars in the Container Store whenever I go to the East Coast, but I stop myself from bringing them back to the Philippines since they are quite heavy and would take up a lot of space in my luggage :). So, I am looking for some possible sources here in Manila :). Thanks again and I hope you are both enjoying your weekend at my other side of the globe! :)

    Mar 6, 2011 | 5:35 pm

  20. millet says:

    bettyq, how do you find time to do all the things you do? you are just brimming with ideas! very often, after reading your comments, i would go, “oh, yes..pwede nga..why didn’t i thinkg of that before?” ;-) many thanks, bettyq. you and MM, you’re quite the blog pair!

    Mar 6, 2011 | 5:54 pm

  21. Jerome says:

    Hi, Carol. I got some of those jars in varying sizes from Rustans Department Store. I think the price range from P75 to P125.

    Mar 6, 2011 | 7:52 pm

  22. Grette says:

    Hi carol

    You can get these jars at SM Mkts houseware section.

    Mar 6, 2011 | 10:13 pm

  23. sister says:

    Meyer lemons are softer and thin skinned compared to Eureka lemons and a whole day closed up in a box made them somewhat bruised. I just made meyer lemon marmalade today as well as tarocco blood orange marmalade, a nice addition to the jam parade.
    Jars with the metal ring closures are no longer recommended by the FDA for jam or preserves that should be put in a water bath. Be careful with used, thrift shop jars, you want to avoid the ones with caps lined in asbestos or ceramic, replace the caps with new ones if possible.

    Mar 7, 2011 | 5:16 am

  24. Marketman says:

    Carol, I purchased these particular jars at SM Home Store many months back. They also have them at the Landmark housewares section.

    Mar 7, 2011 | 5:58 am

  25. kalayo says:

    MM, do the jars you bought seal well? I bought one about a year ago, had to leave it in storage for a while. I was only able to test and use it recently (for my pickled eggs project) and found out that the rubber seal does not work well.

    Mar 7, 2011 | 10:41 am

  26. pinkpearl says:

    Sir MM, thank you for this recipe. Can we also use the leftover lemon juice (for other purposes) or just discard it?

    Mar 7, 2011 | 11:05 am

  27. Clarissa says:

    How do these things taste? Just like lemon? Not salty at all?

    Mar 7, 2011 | 11:11 am

  28. quiapo says:

    Have you tried the Alessi citrus squeezer? It has been around for a while, but I was surprised at how its design has given such a lift to my kitchen.

    Mar 7, 2011 | 12:04 pm

  29. Carol says:

    Dear MM, Jerome and Grette – thanks for the info on where to get the jars! Good to know they are accessible here in Manila. :) :). This morning, we had to cook our excess jackfruit in syrup and I am looking forward to storing them in such jars! :)

    Mar 7, 2011 | 1:31 pm

  30. KUMAGCOW says:

    MM so that’s chili, laurel and cinnamon sticks together with it?

    Mar 8, 2011 | 12:48 am

  31. ness says:

    MM, would cinnamon powder work as well? Where do you get your cinnamon sticks? :)

    Mar 14, 2011 | 8:33 am

  32. Anna Maria Elisa Manalo says:

    Meyer lemons on tangine! I’ll have to acquire some and try it. Thanks for the recipe.

    Sep 28, 2011 | 9:47 pm

  33. Fred b block says:

    Any source for the trees or seedlings of Kumquat in PI?

    Dec 2, 2012 | 6:06 pm


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