How to Use Salt Preserved Citrus

February 7, 2017

Looking for ways to use the preserved lemons, limes, or oranges you made this month? Here are more than 40 ways to use salt preserved citrus to delicious effect.

Lots of you have taken a leap of faith with me this month and have made a jar of preserved lemons, limes, oranges, or grapefruit for the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge without really knowing what to do when them when they’re ready. In order that I’ve not led you astray, here’s a list of things that you can make with your salt preserved citrus when it’s ready.

I will say that most of these recipes do call for preserved lemons, but take heart, most will work beautifully with any preserved citrus. I’ve made note down below when I think substitutions would be particularly tasty.

From New York Times Cooking

From Epicurious

From Food52

Finally, some thoughts on using preserved citrus without a recipe. So many dishes, from simple vinaigrettes to grain salads, soups, and casseroles, can typically benefit from the addition of salt and acid. Thing of preserved citrus as a single condiment that can deliver both.

Chop the rind into tiny bits and stir it into your chicken, lentil, or bean soup. Pour a bit of the liquid off into a stew that needs brightening. Whir some of your jar into a thick puree and spoon it into hummus. Once you get to know the flavor, you’ll find that preserved citrus is endlessly useful.

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11 thoughts on "How to Use Salt Preserved Citrus"

  • Thanks so much for this. I have a lime tree that really cranks out limes so I make preserved limes every year and then struggle with how best to use them.

    One additional idea is to use a section (a 1/4) in a gin and tonic instead of a fresh lime wedge. I call it a Salty G&T.

    If I have last year’s preserved limes left when I’m starting a new batch , I puree the remaining old batch (peel, flesh and salty sludge) and keep in a jar in the frig. That makes it even easier to add to pan sauces, salad dressings or pretty much anywhere you need salt.

  • Thank you for this ! I was never sure if you were supposed to eat the inside or the rind. I know that sounds stupid but there you go lol 😉

  • Very timely suggestions. Especially nice to see that are are plenty of opportunities to use them for those of us who just do not like salt. (Yes, we are out here! Some people like a little too much salt, but some of us don’t like salt even a little.)


  • There is great recipe for hummus with preserved lemon in Alana Chernila’s book, The Homemade Kitchen. She also has a good recipe for a kind of “deconstructed” tuna noodle casserole on her website.

  • These look great! So far I threw some in whenever I’ve been braising lamb and that’s proved to be a good choice (especially the lamb shoulder I braised in blackberry porter). I’ve been thinking they would be good chopped up in tuna salad instead of my usual dill pickles. I am super interested in that ice cream recipe, though!

  • Thanks for suggesting so many different ways to use the preserved citrus! I am sure these are useful for everyone!

  • Thank you for posting this. I recently discovered preserved lemons and decided to make some but didn’t really think about what I was going to use them in. LOL

  • Question: How long is it safe to keep these salt preserved lemons in the refrig? I’ve had mine since last winter and they still *seem* fine, but when something is already funky, how do you tell??? I’m barely halfway through the giant jar I made and need to know if I should keep cooking with them or if it’s time to start giving them away just to let them be used before they go bad.

    1. I’ve kept some for 2-3 years without issue. If they start getting funky, excessively slimy or generally gross, then get rid of them. But if they seem fine, then they are fine.