food for thought: got lemons?

the other day, a gardener around the corner from my house was giving away a big sack of lemons, so naturally we grabbed ’em! just the smell of them was heaven. now normally, lemons — i’d make lemonade, but some friends had been telling me how easy it was to make preserved lemons, so i decided this morning before i started blogging i was going to do just that. i have never preserved anything before, but this was indeed, quite easy and most gratifying — i love making things like this from scratch. they’re wonderful served as a condiment with middle eastern and Moroccan meals, and grilled fishes like salmon and roasted chicken. i love these pretty weck jars for canning. here’s a look at what i did — and you can download a copy of the recipe you see below [ right here. ]

50 Responses to “food for thought: got lemons?”
  1. susie. says:

    how do you eat preserved lemons? i mean, what with? (beautiful pics!)

  2. i don’t get it? what do you do with salty lemons after you’ve made them?
    gorgeous photos, of course!

  3. Martina says:

    Hello…gorgeous pictures and sounds lovely but I’m with the two comments above..I have no idea what you would do with them!!

    • victoria says:

      sorry guys – i’ve updated the post to explain what types of food you serve them with – they’re a condiment, like chutney, great with grilled fish and chicken.

  4. phyllis says:

    Here is how to use:

    I didn’t know either! But I think they are beautiful in the jars!
    I was hoping you’d show it :)

  5. danielle says:

    wow! gorgeous photos, and beautiful photoshoppin’ victoria! so pretty : )

  6. Penny says:

    Yes they’re fab! You can slice them and have them with roast chicken, at least that’s how i had them when my aunt did it, but I think you can chop them up and sprinkle them over fresh steamed veg or fish parcels or anything like that. When I tried it was a big ol’ fail- the old preserving jars I used (same as the ones above!) completely rusted over with the salt- ruining both preserved lemon dreams and antique jar. Hope yours don’t do the same! (Those flip top French jars with the wire clips might work better…)

    • victoria says:

      on dear! well, this was experimental, so next time the other jars might be a better idea!

    • Linda says:

      They are used a lot in middle eastern cooking. Used in Tagine’s. I use them in a number of dishes. I bottle them the middle Eastern way, slightly different to this, the lemon is kept whole but sliced in quarters just before the end of the lemon you stop, so it is still kept together. Salt pushed into lemons and more around the lemons in the bottle. Then I use some more lemon juice and boiling water. You can add a chilie, bay leaf, pepper corns or coriander. Anything you like. Mine keeps in the pantry. Use the rind, discard the pulp unless using a whole one in a chicken. Many uses, give them a try :)

  7. Cathy Jean says:

    For your blogger who asked with what you can use them for- you can use them in Moroccan cooking! Moroccan cooking calls for them in salads and Tagine cooking! I love the lay-out here and lemon is my favorite scent in the whole world.

  8. Kacie says:

    Fantastic! Love the photos and the inspiration. Watch out Martha!


  9. Angharad says:

    Such a fabulous idea and gorgeous photos!

  10. Gorgeous pics! I don’t cook anything and now you’ve inspired me to make this so I can put over fish or chicken. It’s so pretty that it may help me eat healthier! Question, what kind of jars to buy and where? Anyone?

  11. Denise says:

    If your going to use a lot of jars you can get them directly from Weck in lots of 6 for way less than C&B

    Plus they have more shapes and other kinds of jars that would make great containers for Lemonade :)

  12. sécia says:

    My lemon tree is thanking you. I’m totally going to try this!

    ♥ sécia

  13. Hilary says:

    What a beautifully designed post! I just made lemon curd for the first time so I am alllll about all things lovely and lemon right now.

    XO – Hilary

  14. Judy says:

    Thank you for the explanation. I’m going to Whole Foods today to get Meyer lemons! I agree with Cathy Jean about lemons being the Best aroma around – also, the zest makes many dishes so much better.

  15. Lynne says:

    I love preserved lemons! Recently I moved to an area that has a high percentage of Armenian people – and have been trying some of the wonderful ingredients at our local independently owned grocery stores. I find that taking a small amount of the preserved lemons (have never made my own – yet), both skin and flesh – smoosh it real good & use it in my olive oil based salad dressing. Wonderful addition!!

    Thanks for posting this – can’t wait to try it. Also, if you ever get a chance to try the sweet lemons imported from some of the Middle Eastern countries – they are amazing, too.

  16. Naomi says:

    Had to link to your post in my Friday 5:

    Thanks again for posting this!

  17. Jesse Lu says:

    My best friend makes these every year. When we lived together we’d chop them up into steamed rice with fresh herbs and chickpeas and summer veggies. Yum!

  18. Brad Waters says:

    *love* them. here’s a recipe i used to make w/ preserved lemons thats so amazing. in case readers are curious what else you can do with them. complex flavor:

  19. victoria says:

    thanks brad – i pinned the recipe so i don’t forget!

  20. Starlet says:

    Hi Victoria,

    I have soo many lemons from the garden, so thank you, thank you, for this amazingly simple canning recipe!!

    It’s going to be my first canning project, totally looking forward to it.

    Since I’m overwhelmed with lemons, I put together a quick post on some lemon ideas; of course, I have to link yours here:

    Thanks again!


  21. victoria says:

    and, an update – these came out DELICIOUS! they were ready to eat this week, and i tried them with grilled salmon and green beans and roasted pototoes and ate the lemons as kind of a relish on the side – yum!

  22. roseanna says:

    I love lemons but they tend to go off quite quickly- this solves that problems. The jars will look lovely on a shelf too!

  23. Evelin says:

    How many jars should I sterilize?

  24. Valerie says:

    These are made traditionally in India. After a period of time, spices (turmeric/chili powder/fenugreek) and a little oil can be added. They are eaten as you would a pickle. In fact, they are called pickled lemon. Can be done with limes, as well.

  25. Chris says:

    Have tried these a few times and suspect that I didn’t use as much salt as you suggest. That might well be the solution. Thanks!

    As an aside, I don’t get this: kosher salt? If you are a good jew you’d use kosher salt anyway. If you’re not a jew, then so what? Who cares? Just curious.

  26. candie says:

    I would think this would be awesome in Bloody Mary and also with a garnish on the rim

  27. victoria says:

    i posted this so long ago! so i’m curious how you are finding your way over to it now – was it linked somewhere?


  28. Suzanne says:

    I just found this today too!
    Geast idea- tis now on my project list! Thank you do much!
    It was on FB posted on this blog

  29. kelly says:

    Just found this floating around pinterest today – I’m going to try it! I have an old “french” type jar if I can get a new seal for it – next time lemons are inexpensive I’m there! Also looked at the weck jars – maybe try them? They look nice.

  30. Ellen says:

    If ur having trouble w/ jar lids rusting, google plastic screw on lids for canning jars- I bought some at the grocery last year, made by ball. Tattle also makes a bpa free canning lid/ gasket set that would probably work great as well.

  31. Ellen says:


  32. Shirley says:

    I add a little atjar masala in between lemons – looks pretty and tastes awesome. I eat them on their own too – once I have had one, I am hooked and go back for more!.

  33. ellie says:

    your pot is making me drool! *LOVE*

  34. Mimi WIlson says:

    I make these all the time. They are so easy to make and beautiful on yours shelves. Only a true gardener can appreciate that last sentence. You ask what you can do with them. I cut the peel into strips and sprinkle over salad. Also add them to Fresh Chicken salad and Tuna salad. Also toss peel strips with fresh rosemary, fresh cracked black pepper and tiny halved potatoes with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and 2 Tablespoons of the liquid from the lemons. then roast in hot oven. Awesome! You can do this same method using a fresh organic chicken. You can actually do this with the chicken and the last 20 minutes add the potatoes. Serve with green beans and cold deviled eggs.

  35. Katie says:

    I think it’s time I made some!! It sounds delish on fish…my mouth is watering!! I just love your photos, they’re so crisp and homey. Makes me want to pick up my camera again!

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