Five ideas for preserving Meyer lemons (recipe: Meyer Lemon Finishing Salt)

five ideas for preserving lemons on

Winter is spilling over into its sixth month, bringing snow and freezing temperatures once again to our northern city. At dinner yesterday I tried to look on the bright side: “At least we don’t have to mow the lawn”, then slumped back into my chair, sighing over the elusive spring and her warm winds.

Last month I collected myself and resolutely embraced winter salads, but early March found me longing for fruit other than lackluster apples. Spurred on by fellow home preserving enthusiasts, Marisa and Autumn, I treated myself to a box of Meyer lemons from Lemon Ladies Orchard in California.

In record time the lemons arrived in good shape, and opening the box was better than unwrapping a Christmas present. The sweet smell perfumed my kitchen instantly and almost as quickly, my head began to swirl with ideas.

I was smitten.

box of lemons

This small shipment was just the inspiration I needed in the kitchen and the prefect antidote to winter blahs. I set aside most of the Meyer lemons for preserving, but zested a few into madeleines for breakfast, and roasted a couple others with potatoes. I had grand ideas for cheesecake and custards, but alas, my stocks dwindled quickly.

On Friday I scrubbed my kitchen clean with my homemade lemon-scented cleaner, and on Saturday, after a pancake breakfast, I started on my preserving projects. Here’s a look at the results which hopefully provide inspiration for your own lemon party. Maybe it can take your mind off of Spring, and her delayed arrival.

5 ideas for preserving lemons on

These ideas and recipes can work with regular lemons as well, so don’t be stalled if you can’t find Meyer lemons in your area.

Five ideas for preserving lemons on

Meyer Lemon Marmalade

It’s been two whole years since I’ve made a batch of marmalade. What-the-what? That’s just crazy. As this Pink Grapefruit & Pomegranate Marmalade was spread on toast and enjoyed loooong ago, I was the most excited about revisiting marmalade, and chopped my lemons with gusto.

I followed Marisa’s Meyer Lemon Marmalade recipe in her cookbook Food in Jars, and as per usual, the results were perfect: a thick, pretty golden spread that is bursting with flavor and full of deliciously chewy, candied lemon rind.

If you don’t yet own the Food in Jars cookbook but want to make Meyer lemon marmalade, Marisa says you can follow this recipe, just swap in Meyer lemons for the blood oranges. Strawberry Meyer Lemon Marmalade is another great alternative if you are a fan of mixed fruit spreads.

Homemade Meyer lemon sugar on

Meyer Lemon Sugar

I’ll be rationing out this perfumed Meyer lemon-scented sugar in the weeks to come, sprinkling it over yogurt, poached fruit, and pancakes, as well as baking it into delicate cakes and soft shortbread cookies. It’s so simple to make, I’m considering gifting jars of it to Noah’s school teachers come June and school end.

I used about 1 cup of sugar per lemon, zesting the citrus right into the bowl of sugar. The lemons are small though, so depending on the size of your lemons, you could probably have more of a 1.5 cups of sugar/zest of lemon ratio.

To finish the sugar, massage the zest and the sugar together until combined, then spread it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place in a very slow (150F) oven for about 10 minutes or until the zest has dried. Cool, then crumble the lemon sugar in your hands until it is free of lumps. Transfer to an airtight jar and store at room temperature.

Homemade Meyer lemon infused vodka on

Meyer Lemon Infused Vodka

Right now, this is just a quick infusion of three Meyer lemons, quartered, and covered in about a cup of vodka. I’ll let it sit for a month or so, then perhaps add sugar, or maybe try this limoncello recipe. Anyway, I’ve got time to decide. This project can only result in something good!

salt preserved Meyer lemons

Salt-Preserved Meyer Lemons

Preserved lemons are a wonderful way to insert a small burst of flavor into pastas, salads, fish plates and appetizers. Marisa recently shared a recipe for Spiced Preserved Lemons, which is simple and uses the whole lemon, but I like to juice a few lemons, add that to the salt to make a sort of slurry, then pack the lemons in it. Both methods yield good results.

I haven’t made preserved lemons in years, so I’m looking forward to cooking with these in a few months.

how to make Meyer lemon finishing salt

Meyer Lemon Finishing Salt

Next to my precious marmalade, I was the most tickled about my small batch of lemon salt for finishing dishes like whole roast fish and salads, garnishing grilled foods, or just simply sprinkling on popcorn. It’s fast to make and absolutely wonderful to have on hand; I’m including the recipe in hopes that you give it a try.

Meyer Lemon Finishing Salt

The natural oils from the Meyer lemon zest perfume the sea salt making it a beautiful finish for fish, popcorn, vegetables, or grilled foods. Recipe adapted from Food in Jars cookbook.
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiments
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Calories: 1kcal
Author: Marisa


  • 1/2 cup sea salt I used gray
  • 2 small Meyer lemons scrubbed


  • Preheat the oven to 150F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and measure salt into the middle of the paper.
  • Zest the lemons directly onto the salt, then rub the zest into the salt with your finger tips.
  • Spread the salt evenly around the pan and place in the oven.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes until the salt feels dry and the zest looks dehydrated.
  • Remove pan from oven and let cool completely. Break apart any chunks with your fingers, then transfer to a jar and seal


Calories: 1kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 56587mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 1.1mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 0.5mg

How do you like to use lemons and other winter citrus?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. These all look so beautiful! You’ve inspired me to give at least one of these a try.

  2. The lemon sugar looks amazing. I really like the idea of gifting it.

  3. I never though of perserving lemons, but now I really want to give it a try!

  4. What gorgeous ideas Aimee! The meyer lemon sugar and infused Vodka sound right up my alley!

  5. I finished my preserved lemons a few months ago, and have been – for some crazy reason – avoiding making another batch. This is JUST the nudge I needed! Thanks! Love the other ideas, too.

  6. Great ideas! In case you want to pick up a few more Meyers for cheesecakes and custards, they are now available in some supermarkets in Montreal – although they don’t always look as nice as the ones you ordered.

  7. Aimee, the perfume of Meyer Lemons, always gets me too. I’ve got my own little tree growing this year. 🙂

    Love the idea of this salt–can’t wait to try it!

  8. Such a great post Aimee. I have never preserved lemons ~ but certainly would LOVE to do so. That salt is a fantastic idea as well!

  9. wow, I absolutely LOVE the scent of meyer lemons and i can only imagine how amazing your house smelt after these projects!! these are all so creative and brilliant, Aimee. thank you for sharing!

  10. These look lovely! How many pounds did you order? I can’t decide if I need to order the 3 or the 7 pound box. 🙂

  11. Lemon Ladies is actually in northern California, in the hills of Redwood City. And I agree, their meyer lemons are AMAZING!

  12. Spring is taunting us as well in Nova Scotia but those lemons look like just the thing to cheer up the cool days.
    I’m planning on making the lemon finishing salt, what a great idea. =)

  13. Oh how I want spring to get here already. We had a taste of it last week, but then snow came back this weekend *sigh* Thanks for the shot of yellow wonderful springness 🙂

  14. Aimee,
    Marmalade–after my mom’s heart! She’s visiting and so happy to see Tim Horton’s here (there are none where she lives) because she can get marmalade as a jelly choice for her bagel.
    Thanks for some delicious suggestions! Next year for the band fruit fundraiser I’m going to investigate the growers of the citrus we get by the case. I’m hesitant to use the peels for anything other than non-food uses (though the idea of sticking it in vinegar to make an orange-scented cleaner really ap-peels, pun totally intended) until I know what all could have been sprayed onto them.


  15. Brian @ A Thought For Food says

    All are great suggestions! I’ve been meaning to make some preserved lemons. Love the idea of a salt!

  16. OMG-I love each and everyone one of these five ideas. the marmalade is fav though!!!!

  17. Meyer lemons were certainly not on my shopping list but I am inspired by ALL of these ideas and found my mouth watering as I read your post. Lemon vodka. Yes. This time of year just begs for a punch of flavor. Thanks!!

  18. Oh I’m so thankful for these links and recipes. Growing up in AZ we had scads of lemons, oranges & grapefruit in the backyard. Love preserved lemons.

  19. Okay, I am new to the whole “preserving lemons” scene and I am really excited to try these ideas! Can anyone please tell me how long the lemon salt and the lemon sugar last? I have canned before, so that doesn’t bother me. Thanks for any help & suggestions!

  20. Genius!! I love all these ideas, and can’t wait to try them, especially the lemon sugar and lemon salt!

  21. I have the sugar an the salt in the oven right now… Plan on making the marmalade and vodka later today. We have a Meyer tree and I have bazillions of them. So this post is perfect!!!!

  22. Great ideas for meyer lemons! I am going to have to try that salt!

  23. Creative ideas for preserving, I’d love to try a few 🙂

  24. Oh man, these all look so tempting right now! Like you, I burn through my citrus stash WAY TOO QUICKLY. It’s hard not to get overambitious!

  25. 5 stars
    I’ve made most of these things but never meyer lemon finishing salt. I’m hooked! Those lemons in the 2nd photo are unreal. I get mine from the lady next door and they’ve got little oopses all over. They’re free so no complaints but those are lemon perfection.

  26. I was so afraid to make preserved lemons. I was afraid you would read in the newspaper that a lady killed her family with preserved lemons. Then after much research I mustered the courage to make them. They are so delicious. I put them in everything. Your photos are so wonderful they make me smile.

  27. Beth @ Decadent Dragon Bakery says

    5 stars
    I tried making your citrus sugar today (using a valencia orange). It turned out really well! Thanks for the tip. I liked that the orange was bigger and so provided more zest for my 1 cup of sugar. I even squirted a bit of juice onto the sugar to super-charge it, too.

  28. Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies says

    5 stars
    I love love love this post. Mainly because I can *never* find Meyer Lemons locally, and have literally never had one. I am off to order a box, so that I too can chase away these winter blues. And then I’m making that Strawberry Meyer Lemon Marmalade.

  29. Absolutely gorgeous collection of preserved meyer lemons, Aimee! I love everything on the list and can’t wait to try this finishing salt to help beat the winter blues.

  30. 5 stars
    I love Meyer lemons and I always preserve them as candied zest and simple syrup (in fact, I just posted about it on my blog). I’m going to try out your salt idea. Citrus salt would be great once grilling season comes around.

  31. Why am I just now seeing this…geez louise! I’ve got Meyers out the wazoo! Now…what shall I make…what shall I make? 🙂

  32. After you “zest the lemons for your lemon sugar and salt what do you do with the rest of the lemons. THANKS for the recipes

  33. 5 stars
    Thanks for all your great preserving suggestions. You inspired me to do a lot with my meyer lemon harvest. I mentioned you in my blog post tonight. I made your finishing salt, lemon sugar and took a tip on your preserved lemon recipe. Have a great night!

  34. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this pin! My gardener neighbor gave me a huge bag of lemons, and your ideas are perfect for preserving them. I am doing the lemon salt and sugar right now.

  35. 5 stars
    How long can you keep the sugar and salt? Curious if there is an expiration time that I should be aware of and the best storage suggestions.

  36. shirlee riddle says

    5 stars
    How would I go about “candying” Meyer lemons??? Thank you.

  37. 5 stars
    I’ve got a tree full of fruit waiting for all these recipes. This is the ultimate list of recipes for using Meyer lemons. Thanks for the great tips!

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