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Preserving Lemons


The lemons are just starting to appear in the grocery stores in the Southern Hemisphere and the new season is offering beautiful perfect waxy bright yellow fruit. I can’t help buying them by the bagful, they seem to call out to me, they are like edible gold, I just want to take them home and bottle them all so I can enjoy them all year round. So that is what I did most of Saturday (in between surfing a few waves in a very cold sea out at Muriwai), I made jars of lemon curd, jars of lemons preserved in brine and confit lemons. As well as making some lemon coconut tarts for dinner which will follow on my next post.

For those of you who are also benefiting from the citrus season and would like also to preserve them I have set out recipes for all three below, all of which are very easy to make and such a treat once they are no longer in season and too expensive to be squeezing into a curd. Lemon curd is the English name for ‘lemon honey or lemon cheese’.

Lemon curd is the jar on the left, lemons in brine is the middle jar used for savoury Morocan dishes and the confit lemons is the jar on the right used for decorating cakes or tarts. 

Lemon Curd – Ingredients

  • 4 lemons, zest & juice
  • 200g castor sugar
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 4 eggs


  1. Whisk together the lemon juice, zest, sugar, melted butter and eggs until they are completely combined.
  2. Pour the liquid into a heavy bottom pan which distributes heat well.
  3. Cook on a low heat and stir continuously while cooking. Do not boil the liquid otherwise you will end up with lemon scrambled eggs! Do not leave the liquid while cooking and always stir, preventing it from sticking to the base of the pan.
  4. Once the liquid thickens to the consistency of thick custard, pour into sterilised jars and secure with a lid.
  5. Use the curd for tarts, fillings or a spread.  

Lemons in Brine – Ingredients

  • 5  lemons
  • 145g sea salt
  • 300ml water
  • 200ml lemon juice


  1. Wash, dry and sterilise jars, enough for 5 lemons.
  2. Wash and slice lemons into quarters. 
  3. Pack  the jars tightly with lemons and salt, alternating each each layer and making sure all the lemons are covered in salt.
  4. Sprinkle over any remaining salt.
  5. Combine the lemon juice and water and pour into jars ensuring that the lemons are covered completely.  
  6. Place in a cool place, away from direct sunlight, for at least 4 weeks. 
  7. Once lemons have settled in jar, you might need to add more lemon juice to ensure the lemons remain covered. 
  8. The lemons will start to soften and might start to float. As a result, they may not stay entirely covered with juice and may develop a harmless white mould. 
  1. To use, remove a lemon from brine and rinse under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towel. Use a sharp knife to cut flesh from rind. Discard flesh and pith and use the rind only. 

Confit Lemons – Ingredients

  • 6 lemons
  • 200ml water
  • 200g castor sugar
  • seeds from one vanilla bean 


  1. Slice the lemons finely into rounds, discarding any seeds. 
  2. Put the sugar and water into a wide based pan on a low heat until sugar has dissolved.
  3. Add vanilla beans and lemon slices.
  4. Cook over a low heat for about 40 minutes until the lemons are  jelly like consistency. The liquid should simmer not boil.
  5. If the sugar syrup reduces too much top it up with water so that all the lemons are covered. Do not let the sugar syrup caramelise otherwise the lemons will go tough.
  6. Put the lemons and syrup into sterilised jar and and store in fridge until ready to use.  
  7. Makes about 3 small jars.
8 Comments Post a comment
  1. The gold tones in that photograph are just gorgeous!!

    August 10, 2009
  2. Always wanted to preserve my own lemons, now I know how 🙂 then I go to town making tagines, baked good or, on occasion, eating them on their own! Thanks for this recipe!

    August 10, 2009
  3. maxine #

    thanks it was easy as! for this novice and tasty successful Lemon Curd! Yummm! had to do “The Lick” cleaning up operation 🙂 will try your lemon tart recipe soon. Also have been enjoying my preserved lemons with my weekly chicken dinners has been a welcome change.

    October 5, 2011

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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