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Kitchen Garden: Preserving Lemons

I recently posted the image at left on Instagram, and my normally quiet followers expressed all kinds of interest about the preserved lemon recipe. This was not really a surprise, since for the past five years or more, our clients have consistently requested fruit trees and vegetable beds in their gardens. In response, we’ve developed an extensive palette of edibles based on flavor, winter hardiness, disease resistance, planting season and ripening date.

If you’ve been blessed with an abundance of lemons (or limes) this winter, preserving them creates a tangy, salty addition to dressings and roasted vegetables or chicken. You can use the slices whole, but I like to puree them for a spoonable mixture. This recipe is from Karen Mordechai’s Simple Fare: A guide to everyday cooking and eating.


  • 4 Lemons or limes, plus more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves

Wash the lemons thoroughly and thinly slice them crosswise. Remove any large seeds. Transfer the slices to a large bowl and toss them with the salt, red pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons of the oilve oil. Firmly pack the slices into a pint-size glass jar, pressing down as you go to release the juice from the lemons. Tuck the bay leaves along the sides of the jar. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If the lemons are not completely submerged, top with additional fresh lemon juice.

Seal the jar and let it sit at room temperature, shaking the jar every day for 3-5 days or until the rinds are tender. Transfer to the refrigerator to store for up to 3 months.

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