Preserved Limes and Lemons

Buying seasonal not only means you get produce at its cheapest, it also means you are buying it in its peak condition.  The other day, I saw sensational limes for $2.99 – so bought 2 bags.   Outside of the season, limes can be nearly $2 just for one !

I immediately came home and made my lime and mint juice.  After admiring the beauty of the limes in the fruit bowl for a day or two and contemplating a Mojita or Frozen Margarita party – I decided it was safer if I preserve them !

First – I cut all the limes (and a couple of lemons) into quarters without cutting right the way through one end.  This allows the fruit to be opened up and packed with salt whilst still holding its round shape.

I decided to try two different methods of preserving to see which I preferred.

Version 1 (left) and Version 2 (right)

The first version was inspired by Greg Malouf’s recipe from Arabesque.  Greg’s recipe was uses Claudia Roden’s method. This involves freezing the fruit for 24 hours (after you have sliced it as described above).  You then thaw the fruit completely and stuff them with rocksalt.  The freezing reduces the preserving time to only one month instead of three.

After you fill the fruit with the salt, top up the jar with some honey, lemon juice and spices. I used cinnamon and coriander seeds.  Top up with boiling water.  Greg’s version involved boiling the jar on the stove but too much trouble for me !

The second was Maggie Beer’s version using just salt and some lemon juice.  Here’s Maggie’s recipe.  Seriously, this couldn’t be easier.  I used this with just limes.

So my limes now have to sit for at least a month before they will be ready.  They will last for months (possibly even longer).  Once you open your jar and start using them, pop them into fridge.

If you make a big quantity and are lucky enough to have a vacuum sealer, then it would be great to split them into small bags and seal them up.

Given the cost of preserved lemons and the simple process involved in making your own, it really makes sense.

I will report back on which version I preferred, but in the meantime, while limes and lemons are cheap….why don’t you give it a try yourself.



About Soul Kitchen Blog

Welcome to Soul Kitchen Blog. Sure food ultimately is fuel for the body but made with love is so much more and truly nourishes the soul. As cliche as it sounds, life really is too short to eat bad food and drink bad wine. I have a passion for cooking and a love of good food. I am committed to my quest of searching for fabulous recipes that just so happen to be gluten free. In recent years I discovered that I have intolerance to gluten and whilst its changed my eating habits somewhat, I refuse to allow it to limit my choices to eat well or make those that I cook for feel that they are missing out on anything. My mandate is simple... Feed the body and nourish the soul. I look forward to sharing my journey with you ....
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12 Responses to Preserved Limes and Lemons

  1. Recipe Chefs says:

    Excellent post thanks for sharing. Food is something I can enjoy all around. If I’m not eating it. I’m reading and looking at pictures about it.

  2. ili says:

    Can you remember which ones were nicer???? I like the Malouf recipe but it looks a bit trickier…

    • Hi there, Yes I decided that Malouf ones had a better flavour when taste testing between both varieties…but to be honest, once I used them in cooking, you can’t tell between them. The plain salt ones are a lot simpler process so when I make again, I’ll probably just follow that process and stick a cinnamon stick in with them.

      Malouf’s method of freezing the fruit expediates the process so if you want to use in a hurry maybe that is the way go. By the way, these last for months (years) so make a big jar while you are at it and they will keep you going for ages.

  3. lara says:

    Were your limes organic? I’m going to try this tomorrow. How do you use the wedges in recipes? Juice it , peel it, or chop the whole thing up?

    • Hi Lara, no unfortunately my limes were not organic (how I wish)..

      Once they are ready, you remove the pith which becomes jelly like. Slice it off with the knife.

      Use some kitchen paper to wipe off the salted juice from the skin and then slice or chop finely and use in your recipe.

      I love it is salads and with fish. And fab in a gremolata type topping with a casserole.

      Good luck. Hope they turn out well. Im still using the ones from this same batch so they last for a very long time. Hope this helps 🙂

  4. So happy to find this post – I’m in the process of trying two versions, one simple salt + lemons and the honey-preserved Malouf version. I also skipped the boiling the jar on the stove step, mainly because it hadn’t occurred to me to make sure the jar actually fit in the pot I had planned to boil it in so I was glad to see that you skipped that as well and lived to tell about it. I’m wondering if using boiling water for the top-up vs just warm water is important, especially since honey is involved, or is the acid/salt content high enough to ward off botulism in pretty much any instance? I was also way too eager and didn’t wait for the lemons to thaw completely, mainly because I figured I’d be adding the warm water anyway. Any reason to think I’ve somehow rendered these inedible?

    • No worries, I think you will be ok. A lot of recipes top up with cold water or lemon juice. So long as your jar was sterilised at the start. Over time if any of the fruit at the top of jar (that may not be submerged) develops a white mouldy coating you can always ditch those. Those underneath will be unaffected. Apparently it common and isn’t harmless. However I haven’t had this happen to mine.

      Another tip, that they do in Sri Lanka and Sth India is to put the fruit/salt mix in an earthenware pot and put in the hot sun for a few weeks to fasten the process. if you are using a glass jar, and want to try this I suggest protecting from the light and cover the jar with foil.

      As an aside to everyone that comes across this post – I am still using my first batch of lemons and limes (as I made such a huge batch). They last for years. So far they have aged really well, intensified in flavour and are kind of caramelised. The Malouf ones have the hint if spice which is lovely when making a Moroccan, or Middle Eastern type dish.

      Good luck 🙂

  5. LD says:

    As a first time preserver I was very happy to stumble across your ideas for preserving limes. I was recently the lucky recipient of a great deal of organic limes and so decided to preserve them. I choose to morph the two ideas slightly. I froze and thawed twenty of the best limes, then used Maggie’s simpler ideas of salting and lime juice, along with a cinnamon stick. The juice is cloudy after a very short period, but I am hoping this is normal for preserved limes, I am concerned that I should have used lemon juice instead. It is not the end of the world if I have ruined them as I can access more, but it would be a shame. Any thoughts??

  6. Viktoria says:

    Hi, so which method did you like better at the end?

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