These preserved Meyer lemons are easy to make and lend an incredible salty, deep citrus taste to dressings, sauces, soups, and braises.
For as long as I could remember my mom always had a few glass jars of preserved lemons (chanh muoi) in our kitchen. I would ask my mom for the recipe but she didn’t have one. Vietnamese women from her generation didn’t write down recipes. They cook and make food from memory. Just a spoon of salt, a little water, whatever you feel like was her response. Following in her footstep, making preserved lemons for me is more about experimentation rather sticking to a specific recipe. The possibilities are endless, whatever spices and herbs you feel like using.
Making preserved Meyer lemons is my winter ritual (yes I know it's spring and I'm a little late), kind of like preserving winter in a jar for the rest of the year. I love using Meyer lemons because they have thin skin with small amount of white pith that’s perfect for preserving. Regular lemons will also work if you can’t find Meyer lemons. It does take patience, almost a month before you can use them but it’s worth the wait. The salt works its magic and the salty, deep citrus taste that they lend to dressings, sauces, soups, and braises is nothing short of amazing. Feel free to scale the amount up or down depending on how many lemons you have at your disposal.
Preserved Meyer lemons
- 6-7 organic Meyer lemons, washed and scrubbed
- ⅓ cup sea salt
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ½ tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 large preserving jar, about 24 oz capacity
- Sterilize the jar by washing it in hot, soapy water, rinsing well and drying it in the oven for 10 minutes at 300 degrees F.
- Mix salt, sugar, and coriander seeds in a bowl.
- Thinly slice the lemons.
- Scatter a small amount of the salt and sugar mixture on the bottom.
- Take the lemon slices, dip one side in the mixture, layer them with the salty side down in the jar, and gently press down to extract juice as you continue. Repeat dipping, layering, and pressing until you’ve reached near the top.
- Add the remaining salt sugar mixture. Make sure the lemon slices are all covered with juice. You might need to squeeze juice from extra lemons to top off the jar.
- Seal the jar and store in a cool, dark place for 1 week, turning the jar upside down each day to let the salt and juice redistribute.
- After a week, store the jar in the fridge. Wait at least 3 weeks before opening it.
- Preserved lemons will keep in the fridge, submerged in juice for a year. Be sure to keep the lemon slices submerged in the salty lemon juice or mold will grow.
- To cook with the lemon slices, remove them from the jar and rinse with cool water.