Lotsa lemons

A friend came over for lunch last week bearing an enormous bag of lemons. Not just ordinary lemons, either, but lovely juicy ripe Meyer lemons she’d rescued from a tree about to be cut down.

Meyer lemons, for those who’ve never heard of them, are a somewhat thin-skinned sweet lemon, that apparently comes from a cross between a lemon and an orange, or perhaps mandarine. The skin and the flesh are almost orange and they taste divine! I first encountered Meyer lemons when I lived in Berkeley 20-odd years ago, where almost every house had a prolifically fruiting Meyer lemon tree in the back garden. But they are not quite as common here in Australia.

Rather than just freeze juice, I decided to put the lemons to good use. I’ve been wanting to try making my own preserved lemons for a while, using Stephanie Alexander’s recipe. And I thought the sweetness of the lemons would lend themselves well to lemon curd. Again Stephanie Alexander came to the rescue with a simple recipe.

It’s going to be a month or more before I can use the preserved lemons, but the lemon curd is absolutely delish! Now I need to make some scones, or some pastry cases to go with it …

Stephanie Alexander’s Preserved Lemons

From The Cook’s Companion, by Stephanie Alexander

500g coarse kitchen salt
20 lemons
6 bay leaves
9 cloves
2 sticks cinnamon
extra lemon juice as needed

Sterilise two 1L jars or equivalent. Add a heaped dessertspoonful of salt to each jar.

Scrub lemons and quarter lengthways. Place in a large non-reactive bowl with remaining salt and mix with hand, squeezing to release some of the juice.

Pack lemons into jars, with bay leaves, cloves and splinters of cinnamon layered into the jars along with the fruit. Press down to release as much juice as possible.

Spoon leftover salt and juice into jars, adding extra juice if required to cover the lemons.

Wipe down the mouths and necks of the jars with a clean cloth dipped in boiling water to remove salt and seal lid tightly.

Allow to mature for a month or so in a cool place before using. Refrigerate after opening.


1. Any kind of lemon can be used.

2. I doubled the quantities from the original recipe.

3. I sterilised jars by washing in very hot soapy water and then drying jars and lids for 30 minutes in an oven at 150C.

4. According to Stephanie Alexander, preserved lemons should last at least a year without refrigeration.

Stephanie Alexander’s Lemon Curd

From The Cook’s Companion, by Stephanie Alexander

4 large lemons
200g unsalted butter
350g sugar
6 eggs, lightly beaten and strained through a sieve

Sterilise enough jars for about 4 cups of curd.

Zest and juice lemons. Combine with butter and sugar in a heavy-based saucepan.

Stir over medium heat until butter melts and sugar has dissolved.

Remove from heat and add eggs, whisking to mix well.

Stir constantly over low heat until the mixture thickens. Do not boil as it will curdle.

Pour straight into hot sterilised jars and seal.

Keep refrigerated.


1. Any kind of lemon can be used.

2. I sterilised jars by washing in very hot soapy water and then drying jars and lids for 30 minutes in an oven at 150C.

3. It should keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

5 thoughts on “Lotsa lemons”

  1. Yay for lemons! Glad you liked the preserved lemon suggestion Melissa – now you’ll need to find some tasty middle eastern dishes to go along with them. I did a great class at Oasis for a lamb tagine – it was delicious!!

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