Eight Ways to Preserve Meyer Lemons

six meyer lemons

It is Meyer lemon season and I am in the midst of my annual binge. As I’ve chopped, juiced, dried, fermented and otherwise infused my way through ten pounds, the though occurred to me that it might be useful to have all my favorite ways to preserve this citrus hybrid in one place.

Some of the recipes are mine, some link out to other folks. I’ve tucked my recipe for Meyer lemon jelly in at the end of the post (it’s a recipe from the cookbook, but I feel compelled to share). Enjoy!

soaking meyer lemon bits

I think that marmalade is one of the highest forms of preservation for Meyer lemons. There’s a recipe in my cookbook, but if you don’t have it, use this recipe for Small Batch Blood Orange Marmalade. It will work just as well. If you want something a little different, consider trying the Strawberry Meyer Lemon Marmalade recipe I wrote for Simple Bites last year.

salted meyer lemons

For those of you who like their citrus with a little funk, make Salt Preserved Lemons. Use them in salads, braises, stews and even salted lemonade. If you struggle with them in their whole state, blend them and scoop the puree into vinaigrettes and smooth soups.

dehydrating lemons

Dehydrated lemon slices are good for dropping into mugs of tea, water bottles and even braises that need a little acidity. If you store them in airtight containers, they last up to a year.

meyer lemon zest sugar

Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you’re going to juice a bunch of lemons,  make sure to zest them (either with a vegetable peeler for big chunks or with a rasp for fine bits) thoroughly before you give them the big squeeze. Then stir that zest into sugar or salt, let it dry on a plate or baking sheet for a bit and then pack it into jars. You’ll get good Meyer lemon flavor, all year round.

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This recipe for Meyer Lemon Caramel is not mine and I’ve not yet tried it (but I plan to). However, when it comes to delicious things, I trust Janet without question. Her blog is a delight and you should be reading it. And then you should make Meyer lemon caramel.

two half-pints of lemon curd

Meyer Lemon Curd is one of my weaknesses. I love it a little too much, which is why I make it just once a year. It’s dangerous for me to have around. But in January or February, it just seems right to whisk up a batch and stir it into greek yogurt. It beats the winter blues better than a trip to the tropics.

making limoncelle

If you like limoncello, I implore you to make this version of Meyer Limoncello that Heather posted on her blog (Voodoo and Sauce) about two years ago. I’ve made it following her instructions twice and it’s divine. I’ve not changed a thing (which is rare for me).

meyer lemons

After the jump is my recipe for Meyer Lemon Jelly. The set can be a little tricky to hit right on the nose, but since I like to spoon this jelly into sparkling water, it’s no great loss if it’s too loose. For a slightly pulpier preserve, substitute segmented Meyer lemons for the grapefruit in this jam recipe.

What’s your favorite way to preserve Meyer lemons?

Meyer Lemons Jelly

Yield: 3 half pints

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (approximately 20 lemons)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons powdered pectin

Instructions

  1. Prepare a boiling water bath and 3 half pint jars. Place canning lids in a small saucepan of water and set to the barest simmer.
  2. Squeeze lemons to extract juice and save all the seeds. Place seeds in the center of a 6-inch length of cheesecloth. Roll the cheesecloth up and tie it tightly so that no seeds are able to escape.
  3. Whisk pectin into the sugar.
  4. In a large, non-reactive pot, combine Meyer lemon juice, sugar and the bundle of seeds.
  5. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until the volume in the pot is greatly reduced. While you continue to stir, clip a candy thermometer to the pot and watch until the pot reaches 220°F. It should look thick and syrup-y and the bubbles should look glossy.
  6. Use the frozen saucer to test doneness.
  7. When jelly is finished cooking, pour it into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and bands and process in a boiling water canner for ten minutes.
https://foodinjars.com/blog/eight-ways-to-preserve-meyer-lemons/

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74 responses to “Eight Ways to Preserve Meyer Lemons”

  1. Thanks for this post! So many great recipes…
    I love all things Lemon and have been eyeballing the Meyer lemons at Freddy’s. I’m not sure which I’ll try first, but my mouth is watering!

  2. Thank you for this! I am gearing up for a pickling/canning party this weekend and am in the recipe collecting phase–will definitely be adding a few of these to the mix. I also need to try your preserved lemons recipe–I made a different recipe last year and they were just too salty. Looking forward to trying yours this time around.

  3. Wonderful lemon ideas! I’ve made vanilla sugar and spearmint sugar and both are wonderful, but for some reason I’d never thought to try it with lemons. Thank you for sharing your brilliant ideas! The lemon/strawberry marmalade also looks like a must-try 🙂

  4. What a great post! I’m putting together a basket of goodies for a fundraiser, and I think one or more of these recipes just might sneak their way in!

  5. I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Meyer Lemon tree (tomorrow!). I’ll be back looking for this post next year with a bumper crop, I’m hoping! Thanks! 🙂

  6. Love this post! I’ve made the salted lemons and lemon curd. I also make a lot of lemonade! My Meyer lemon tree produced 130 pounds of lemons this year! Needless to say, I’m glad I like lemons! Lol Love your blog!

    • Just got a load of meyers and sick that I might not use them all..how can I prolong the life of the meyers…Should I cut them up in wedges and freeeze them?…Thanks for any help you can give

  7. Thank you so much! My lemons arrived yesterday and I’m so excited to get started on them this weekend. Definitely going to make the lemon curd and limoncello. I’m also going to try the grapefruit/meyer lemon marmalade I found on punk domestics site.

  8. It’s hit-or-miss here whether they’re even available (I’m in the frozen north), so I’ve never made anything with Meyer lemons. I’ve always wanted to try though! I have your cookbook, so maybe some curd if I can get my hands on a decent quantity without breaking the bank.

  9. What a timely post. I’ve been trying to decide what to make (besides Meyer lemon curd and preserved lemons) with my crisper full of the wonderful fruit from Mom’s tree. Thanks.

  10. I made the Meyer Lemon Caramel on Tuesday and it’s wonderful! Very citrus-y and delicious, with a good consistency just thicker than honey (most of my caramels turn out stiffer than that, and think that it’s maybe the butter in this recipe that lends to a softer texture). I had planned to put it on a caramel apple dessert pizza, but a friend brought a different dessert that night instead. We did put it on ice cream and it’s awesome that way. Still think it would be great on a good pizza dough with a neutral fruit like red apples — will have to try that soon.

    I’ve also made salt preserved meyer lemons, and a meyer lemon – lemon verbena curd and those probably tie for my favorite way to preserve these puppies.

  11. Can you tell me about the hot water process for the lemon curd? Can I just freeze it without doing this or put in th fridge or is it a must step

    • Darlene, you only need to use one preservation method. You can can it, freeze it or keep it in the fridge. All three are unnecessary.

  12. Hello! I am new to canning and I would like to purchase canning jars, but I want to put my money towards beautiful jars! Jars that make me smile as they sit on the family dinner table and as I hand them out as gifts. Do you have a post on the different styles of canning jars? I don’t just want ordinary jars…
    Thank you so much,
    SMMARTideas@hotmail.com
    Lisa

    • Lisa, there’s not a whole lot of variation in canning jars. There are traditional mason jars. Most are made by Jarden Home Brands. They own Ball, Kerr, Golden Harvest, and Bernardin (available primarily in Canada). There are Weck jars (made in Germany), which are quite expensive but very beautiful. Bormioli Rocco are Italian canning jars and most of their styles are similar in size and function to mason jars. Kilner jars are most traditionally found in England and come in either clamp-style seals or mason-style. I hope this helps a little.

  13. I have beautiful meyer lemons and I am getting ready to make a Meyer lemon marmalade…I was thinking of adding sour cherries BUT they are frozen. They are from my sour cherry tree that I harvested this past summer. Do you find a difference in your marmalades if you use a fresh fruit/frozen fruit combination?

    • I made Marisa’s meyer lemon-strawberry marmalade with strawberries from my freezer (home-grown, harvested from our garden last summer, as are your cherries) and it turned out just fine. I make jam quite often from olallieberries stashed in the freezer from previous summer harvests, and that has always turned out just fine, too. So I say . . . go for it!

  14. Sorry…one more question. In one recipe (the blood orange marmalade to convert to meyer lemon marmalade) you have it sitting for 24 hours, but then in the strawberry/meyer lemon marmalde, it is only for 2 – 3 hours. Would you be able to explain the difference and why you need it to sit in the first place? Can you omit this step?

    • The citrus absolutely has to soak for a while. Twenty-four hours is best, but if you can’t wait that long, do give it at least the 2-3 hours advised in the strawberry lemon marmalade. The soaking step softened the citrus pith and makes for a better finished texture.

  15. Marissa:

    A note on your lemon jelly.

    I buy something similar from a little Chinese lady at the market. It comes in a jar and is manufactured. I can’t tell you the ingredients because they are in Chinese.

    When I have a cold I put a couple of heaping tablespoons (from my cutlery) in a cup, add some preserved ginger (to taste) and pour boiling water over it.
    Stir until dissolved and drink.
    So soothing for the throat, and well being.

    This also has the rind in it. It is so soft that I eat with my spoon once the liquid is gone.

    Now I have your recipe, I’m going to give it a try.

    Oh by the way, this stuff isn’t real set either. A bit gloppy.

    Have a Joyful Day :~D
    Charlie

  16. Now you’ve gone and done it. I had to order some of these lemons to try. I’m definitely wanting to try the curd, the caramel and the lemoncello. Goodness, you are such a bad influence on me. 🙂 I’m soo not telling my hubby where I keep getting these ideas!

  17. Who wants to advise those of us in cold climes on where we should order up some Meyer lemons? I would love to have enough citrus that I’d have to preserve even one small batch, instead of just working my way through a few here, a few there. Does anyone have a good source? Oh, to live in California again.

    Thanks,
    Katie

  18. After making your meyer lemon curd a couple of weeks ago, I’m hooked on meyer lemons and just bought another bag. They’re readily available at most grocery stores in Toronto! I’m going to make preserved lemons this time. I’ve also made a great meyer lemon “relish” using chopped fresh meyer lemon (half with the rind on) shallots, parsley and salt. It would also be good use for preserved myer lemon when fresh is no longer available.

  19. Thanks for the link to lemonladies. I just placed my order.

    I was so excited to try some of your ideas, but at the grocery all I saw were packages of 6 lemons (each bag had at least one sad looking lemon in it) with small print that said the lemons had been treated with ‘wax or vegetable oil’. Not something I would want in my zest.

  20. Saw the post about the lemon jelly made into tea. There’s actually a Korean product, called “Citron Honey,” used to make tea. I am an addict! But now I’m going to try your jelly recipe with Meyer lemons instead. Thanks!

  21. Thanks for the Meyer Lemon Jelly recipe. I plan to make it in a few days, I have a couple of questions. The recipe in your book doesn’t include pectin, but, otherwise is the same. Don’t the seeds provide enough pectin for a good set?
    Also, you don’t say how much headroom to give. Is it 1/2″?

    • I’m wondering the same thing about the pectin, and lack of it in the book recipe. Plan on making this next weekend. Let me know if you tried it one way or the other and how the set was. 🙂

  22. I started some limoncello a week ago(!), and I have enough Meyer lemon juice to make some lemon jelly. Unfortunately, I only realized this today, and my seeds are long discarded. Is there anything I can use as a substitute, a different amount of pectin maybe? How about seeds from another citrusy-thing?

    • Other seeds would work. Or you can use a tablespoon or two of powdered pectin. Whisk it into the sugar before adding it to the juice.

  23. This is a great compilation of Meyer lemon recipes. I’m sending it off to my friend in California who has a Meyer lemon tree outside the door… Living in the Pacific Northwest, I never seem to have too many lemons — and I am a great fan of them!

  24. The strawberry meyer lemon marmalade sounds like heaven! I am just itching to start making jam again, although I haven’t even made a dent in the supply I made last year. Looks like I’ll have to start giving it away as gifts!

  25. Any idea if preserved lemons in the frig for 2 years would still be safe to eat? I sort of forgot them back there, and also found them difficult to know how to use. There is no mold growing and they still smell fine. I like the idea of pureeing them…

  26. […] lemons were my first shot at fermenting food. It is so easy, people, it would be a shame not to try it yourself. For me, it began as the hope to preserves a huge slug of lemons I bought from the store on sale. […]

  27. Now I had to go order Meyer lemons from the Lemon Ladies. I haven’t made marmalade before but that strawberry lemon marmalade looked too good to pass and I’ve been wanting to make chicken tagine which needs preserved lemons. Can’t wait!

  28. I have a lemon tree in my yard that keeps me supplied with lemons year round. I’ve made the salt-preserved lemons and am like you when it comes to making lemon curd; I can’t stop eating it so limit how often I make it! Thank you for the other ideas. I’ll be sure to try some of them soon!

  29. Thank you for all of your great ideas! We have one gigantic Meyer lemon tree and one average Meyer lemon tree in our backyard. It looks like the trees are going to yield at least one thousand lemons (if not more) this year! Your suggestions will definitely help me! It much appreciated!

  30. I loved your grapefruit jam so much I decided to do the Meyer Lemon jam sub you suggested. Supremeing four pounds took an hour.

    I’m going to hoard this like the golden sunshine it tastes like!

  31. Hi Marisa,
    So glad I found your recipe for Meyer lemon jelly that understands these lemons taste differently! Have been scouting for information on adding mint flavor to a lemon jelly recipe – if you were to add that to this recipe, what amount would you put in? Looking for a hint of mint…

    • I would cook the jelly down with a couple sprigs of mint in during cooking. I would remove any of the mint material before canning, though, so that it didn’t get better or funky colored over time.

  32. thanks for putting up this lovely & useful blog
    I have a failed first batch of Meyer marmalade, that worked better for me last year
    I had about 40 pounds of fruit, some slightly injured by a late freeze
    anyway I can resurrect my first batch, by adding pectin?

  33. Hi! I used your recipe for meyer lemon marmalade from your book. It came out a perfect consistency but was unbearably tart! Is that normal? Could it have been the pith in the cheesecloth? I boiled the seeds and pith in the cheesecloth along with the rest of the marmalade then removed it prior to jarring.

    • Did you use the appropriate amount of sugar? Marmalade is always tart, but it shouldn’t be inedibly so. I’m not sure what to tell you.

  34. I am a meyer lemon big time fan! Live in Florida where our son had a tree. He moved out of state but Fl meyers do not have seeds. I have had very little luck finding any locally &our grocery has had bags but Sunkist from New Zealand. Working on my 3rd bag of 6 & have made all sorts of breads, cakes & muffins. Always add more zest!!
    Think I will try the preservation instructions, but usually freeze the rind, juice & left over shells for tea or?

  35. Beware of store bought meyer lemons because they are often coated. Preserved lemon recipes use the rind, not the pulp of the lemon. So organic is the only way to go. The Lemoneira-brand Meyer lemons I purchased tried to conceal this information by writing in almost invisible ink of yellow on a green background, in teenie tiny font the following: Coated with Food-grade Vegetable-Beeswax, and/or Lac-Resin-Based Wax or Resin Coating to Maintain Freshness. This ridiculous oxymoron is absurd on its face. Two rounds of boiling and scrubbing did not remove the coating, which was visible as a white film on the pan and colander used. Even scrubbing did little good. In the end, I just picked some lemons off my own tree. No clue why Meyer lemons are to be preferred for this recipe.

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