Preserving Lemons

When I first met our neighbours Brian and Krista they had recently preserved lemons and used them whole, stuffed in a roast chicken. It sounded delectable. It was nearly a year before I finally tried it myself and couldn’t believe I had waited so long.

To make the preserved lemons you will need a sterile quart jar, 4-6 juicy lemons, & about 1/2 c kosher salt. Place 2 T of salt at the bottom of the jar. Wash the lemons well (buy organic if you can; no sense marinating the pesticides). Cut off the extra nubins from each end. Cut the lemons so they are nearly quartered lengthwise, leaving them attached at the base. Now liberally coat the exposed inner surfaces with salt. Place the lemons in the jar and squeeze them down so their juices run. If needed, use extra lemon juice to ensure the lemons are covered in brine.

Place the jar on a shelf at room temperature and wait. Turn the jar upside down periodically over the next several days and then store it in the fridge for a few weeks before use. The rinds will soften, their colour fading, and the smell will sweeten.

The lemons will keep months in the fridge (mine are at 5 months). When you are ready to use the preserved lemons, scoop out the pulp and discard. Rinse the rinds to remove excess brine.

My first use of preserved lemons was (*surprise*) for a roast chicken. I minced the rinds with garlic, olive oil, and fresh herbs. I loosened as much skin as I could, from the breast through to the drumsticks (I have small hands!) and distributed the mixture beneath the skin and inside the cavity. The flavour was subtle but heavenly!

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4 Responses to Preserving Lemons

  1. Wish I had space in my fridge! 🙂

  2. Michelle says:

    Sorry this is off topic, but I can’t find your email on the site. Can you tell me where you buy your straw? Thanks!!

    • jkmcintyre says:

      Michelle, I buy straw at Hayes Feed Store in Burien. However, yesterday I was down at the Seattle Farm Co-op. They have a new warehouse location in SODO at 1937 Occidental Ave S, behind Krispy Kreme donuts off Holgate. They do not have regular business hours, but are open several days a week. They carry straw as well as a variety of chicken and goat supplies. Check them out at:

  3. Michelle says:

    Found them at They are open tomorrow. Awesome, thanks!!

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