Preserved Lemons Recipe – Learning to Preserve, Part 1

It struck me as I was beginning to write this post that my blog has always been about preserving…not so much in the cooking sense, but the fact that what I’d like you to take away from visiting Return to Sunday Supper is the importance of preserving the long held tradition of eating at least one meal a week (even if it can’t be on a Sunday) with your family and/or friends.  I believe that there is a very special connection that is made when people bond together over good food and conversation. I’m hoping that by reading Sunday supper stories and perhaps getting an idea for a new recipe to try, you’ll be more inclined to make time in your busy schedule for a special meal with the ones you love.  I believe that when you look back, some of your fondest memories will be made around the table.

The other kind of preserving is what I’m going to be exploring in the next few months.  This year I’ve had the privilege to be the prop stylist for Chef Paul Virant and Kate Leahy’s new cookbook, The Preservation Kitchen.  I don’t say this lightly…this was the best project I have ever worked on because both of them had enough confidence in what I do to let me do it!  Thank you Paul and Kate!

Preservation Kitchen has inspired me to do something I’ve never done before…can and preserve.  I’m starting off slowly, with something that I believe will be at my skill level and I’d love for you to join me in this journey.  I think that this book is so important right now because many of us are trying to eat in a more nutritious way and more of us now have gardens that produce fresh fruits and vegetables which could mean extra produce that needs to be preserved.  This book will help you to navigate your way with practical tips and luscious recipes.

So let’s begin!

I decided to start with lemons because they are available year round.  I followed the instructions and purchased organic lemons, but I couldn’t find any that hadn’t been waxed, so I also purchased an organic product that cleans fruit and vegetables and removes wax. I didn’t have a large Mason jar, so I used two smaller ones instead and the 8 lemons fit in them perfectly.  I did have to add a bit of salt at the end to cover the tops.

This recipe is very straight forward and in no time at all, little lemon smiles were nestled in with their blanket of salt, sugar and herbs.  Now, the hard part…waiting for them to cure, because of course I want them right away! I’ll keep you posted on their progress and I’ll be using them in a recipe as soon as I can.

I was given permission to use this recipe from Chef Paul Virant, Kate Leahy and Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House.


Preserved Lemons Recipe

Yield: 2 pint jars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

An easy first step in learning to preserve.


2 cups kosher salt (you can use more, if needed)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup herbes de Provence
8 lemons (organic, if possible)


Wash the lemons and slice the ends off. If they are large, cut them into 6 wedges, if they are small, cut them into 4 wedges.

In a large bowl add the salt, sugar and Herbes de Provence which will produce the cure mixture.

Add the lemon wedges and coat them well with the cure mixture.

In a Mason jar(s) or a ceramic container, add a bit of the cure mixture to the bottom, then add the lemon wedges, sprinkling the cure mixture in between each layer.

Squeeze 1 or 2 of the wedges over the top and fill the jar(s) to the brim with remaining cure mixture. If you don't have enough of the mixture left, cover the top completely with a layer of salt.

Cover your jar(s) or ceramic container for 4 to 5 days.

After the 4 to 5 days, you will see that the mixture has created a brine. Make sure that the lemons are still submerged. You might need to add something to keep the lemons from rising to the surface, such as a small ceramic ramekin.

Place in a cool spot (under 65 degrees). Give the lemons a stir every once in a while. Let them cure for a least a month, but preferable 4 months.

Once they are cured, they can keep in the refrigerator up to one year as long as they stay submerged in the brine.






4 Responses to “Preserved Lemons Recipe – Learning to Preserve, Part 1”

  1. 1

    Javelin Warrior — Friday, June 29, 2012 @ 12:43 am

    On Fridays, I share my favorite food finds in a series called Food Fetish Friday – and I love this post so I’m featuring it as part of the roundup (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and I always love dropping by to see what you’ve created…

    • Susie replied: — June 29th, 2012 @ 9:30 am

      No, I have no problem at all…thanks for featuring my post on Food Fetish Friday.

  2. 2

    Sandy — Wednesday, July 18, 2012 @ 2:06 am

    Susie, these jars look great! Need to try it too. I preserved cherries using a recipe from the preservation kitchen and it was the fav of my cooking class. We ate the cherry-preserve as a topping on our lamb burgers with blue cheese.
    Thanks again for this great book, hugs from germany

    • Susie replied: — July 23rd, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

      Oh, I can’t wait to hear how it out!

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