Preserving Lemons - A How To Guide

Preserving Lemons

One of the main problems of having a lemon tree in your backyard is that at certain times of the year you will have an abundance of lemons and may not know what to do with them all. Some people give them away to friends and family, but frugal people use a recipe for preserving lemons and will also even preserve the lemon juice for use later.

  1. Store Lemons In The Refrigerator    
    One of the main problems with keeping and storing lemons is that they will generally only be good for about 7-10 days at room temperature. So an easy tip for preserving lemons and making them last longer is to keep them in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator. Here they will will keep for up to 4 weeks.
  2. Squeeze Lemon Juice Into Ice Cube Trays    
    Whenever you find yourself with too many lemons a simple way to preserve the lemon juice is to freeze it. Simply place the lemons in the microwave for 20 seconds in order to warm them up and ensure that you get more juice out of them, then squeeze the lemon juice into ice cube trays and place the trays into the freezer. After the lemon juice is frozen it is a good idea to remove it from the trays and store it in an air-tight container or freezer bag.
  3. Preserve Lemon Rind In The Freezer    
    If you have an abundance of lemons from you lemon tree then you will find it useful to be able to freeze the lemon rind from them. Just zest the rind off your clean lemons, place the rind in an air-tight container and then put it into the freezer for preserving. You can then use the frozen lemon rind later on in any cooking recipes that requires it.
  4. Clean The Lemons Before Preserving    
    If you are buying lemons from the green grocer or supermarket then you should pick ones that feel heavy for their size because they will give you the most amount of lemon juice. You should also scrub them with a brush using clean water in order to remove any wax residue from the skin, especially if you are thinking about preserving lemons in a jar. Even if you are using lemons from your own tree or those from the farmer's market, you still need to wash and dry them to remove any dirt from the surface.
  5. Traditional Lemon Preserve Recipe    
    In order to be thrifty and start preserving any excess lemons that you have for future use you should use the following traditional lemon preserve recipe :
    1) Wash each lemon to remove any dirt from the skin and then cut off both ends of the lemons.
    2) Next cut each lemon into ¼, but do NOT cut it all the way through. Leave it still joined at one end and then pry open the lemon and sprinkle a tablespoon of sea salt onto the inside of the lemons.
    3) Place each lemon into a sterilized jar and then squash firmly so that some of the juice is extracted from the lemons. When the jar is full ensure that the top of the lemons are covered by lemon juice. If necessary add some more fresh lemon juice and then add 2 tablespoons of sea salt on top.
    4) Finally seal the jar and store them at room temperature for about a week. After that you can continue to store them at room temperature or even place them in the fridge, turning the jar over occasionally in order to let the salt spread evenly throughout the lemon preserve.
    5) You can use the preserved lemons anytime after 3 weeks, however I prefer to wait at least a month before using them in my cooking. When you go about preserving lemons in this manner you will be able to use them for up to 6 months as a substitute for fresh lemons in any recipe. Just be aware that preserved lemons are fairly strong in flavour so you may need to add them sparingly to your dishes.
    6) A lot of people like to add some spices to this traditional lemon preserve recipe, such as a cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cloves, fennel or cumin seeds. You can experiment with different combination until you find a flavour that suits your taste.
  6. Preserve Limes The Same Way As Lemons    
    If you have a lime tree that has produced lots of fruit at the same time then it is good to know that you can preserve limes and lime juice in exactly the same manner that you preserve lemons. This means that you can freeze the juice for future use or use the traditional preserve recipe to store them in jars.

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