Meyer lemons, one of the most beloved and fragrant lemons in the fruit world also has one of the shortest seasons. It’s this short season that makes me absolutely crazy in these late winter to early spring months as I try to cram this delicious lemon into everything I cook, like these Meyer Lemon Bars with Lavender Shortbread. But one can not simply just go without Meyer lemons for the rest of the year and that’s why every season, I make sure to create jars and jars of Salt Preserved Meyer Lemons to get me through the dry months.
Salt preserving lemons is an incredibly simple task. All you need is a jar, salt, and a few Meyer lemons. There are all sorts of recipes flooding the internet and this will be yet another. But after doing this for years, I know it doesn’t matter what recipe or technique you use as long as you do it because it’s totally worth the 10 minutes of prep and weeks of anticipation for that salty bite of Meyer lemon goodness.
Salt Preserved Meyer Lemons
A beautiful accent to any dish, salt preserved Meyer lemons with their mild saltiness and lemon-mandarin-orange fragrance add a unique and exquisite flavor to many dishes. I use these lemons more of a flavoring agent like I would use an herb or flavored salts and frequently add the zest of these lemons in sautéed spinach, rice pilaf, couscous, martinis, and herb sauces on grilled fish or vegetables. And although the “meat” of these lemons can add quite a salty kick they bring incredible flavor to cream or butter sauces and soups. As long as you have a little patience the outcome is well worth the wait.
It all starts with cutting four slits into each lemon without slicing all the way through.
Pack salt (I’ve used sea and kosher salt and both work beautifully) into the slits…
and place lemons into the jar, layer with salt, and press to fit. Then screw the lid on tightly and place in a dark cool place for a few weeks. Once ready, use the lemons by washing them well under running water. Once opened, store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
That’s it. That’s how simple it is to create a bite of amazingness. One of my favorite ways to use the preserved lemons is in herb/oil sauces like pistou or chimichuri. This plate of gorgeousness is Roasted Carrots with Burrata and Preserved Lemon Pistou and it just came together when we needed a “healthy” studio lunch during a comfort-food-heavy shoot. It was so incredibly good I grabbed the camera just before it was devoured and I will hopefully be sharing the recipe very soon.
A beautiful accent to any dish, salt preserved Meyer lemons with their mild saltiness and lemon-mandarin orange fragrance add a unique and exquisite flavor to many dishes.
- 6 meyer lemons
- 1 cup kosher or sea salt
Without cutting through, make 4 slits from tip to tip of each lemon creating quarters. Pack salt into the slits of each lemon.
Add 1/4 cup of salt on the bottom of a large 4-cup glass jar with a lid and pack two lemons into the jar pressing to fit. Add another layer of salt and two more lemons. Repeat until all lemons are used and top off with another layer of salt. Seal the jar tightly and store in a cool dark place. Gently shake the jar every few days for the first week to make sure lemons are covered with salt (the lemons will release juice). After 4 weeks, the rinds should be soft and ready to use. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
by Meredith Steele
To use: rinse the lemons under running water.
Suggested Uses: Remove the "meat" of the lemon and puree to use in sauces (like a butter pasta sauce or preserved lemon sauce for grilled fish) and soups. Use zest in sautéed spinach, rice pilaf, couscous, martinis, and herb sauces on grilled fish or vegetables.