Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Side, Winter

Preserved Citrus

What began as an experiment in the Moroccan tradition of preserving lemons turned into a mason jar proliferation of cured citrus. Once I cracked the code on preserving lemons (not terribly difficult) I decided to try the technique on every kind of citrus I could find at the market. Now I've got jars of lemons, meyer lemons, limes, valencia oranges, blood oranges, and grapefruit, sitting in my cabinet awaiting their debut on my dinner table!


  • Sterile jars
  • Citrus fruit
  • Kosher salt
  • Extra citrus juice


  1. Begin by sterilizing your jars (if they aren't already sterilized). You can put them in the oven (lids off, but also in the oven) at 225 degrees for at least ten minutes, you can run them through your dishwasher on the top shelf, you can nuke them in the microwave, or you can take the traditional route and boil them. Here's a great tutorial: http://readynutrition.com/resources/jar-sterilization-methods-made-easy_17122012/
  2. For lemons and limes: Cut your citrus into quarters, but not all the way through. Start at the nose, make a cut almost all the way to the base (cleaving the citrus in two, but not separating it at the very end). Turn the fruit 90 degrees and repeat, leaving you with citrus that is cut into four pieces, but still attached at the base. For oranges, grapefruit, and all other large citrus: Use the same process, but cut your fruit into sixths.
  3. Using a large spoon, sprinkle about one tablespoon of salt into the cuts of the fruit. Make sure the salt covers the open flesh by pressing the fruit back together. Repeat with all fruit.
  4. Add your fruit to the jar, pressing them down as much as possible.
  5. Screw the lid back on and leave the jars in a dark place (cabinets are great) for 5-6 days. During this time the salt will draw out a lot of moisture from the fruit and kickstart the lactofermentation process.
  6. After 5 or 6 days, juice citrus of the same variety you are preserving and pour said juice over the jarred fruit until the citrus is covered by liquid. Allow the citrus to sit in your cabinet (or fridge if you're concerned) for another three to four weeks until the rind has softened and the fruit is cured.
  7. When using, cut a piece of citrus from the fruit and run it under water. Remove the pulp, it will have absorbed much of the salt. Slice the rind and use in grain dishes, on top of fish, under the skin of chicken, etc.