Halfway Healthy – Sarah’s Preserved Lemons and Other Citrus Friends (Vegan/GF)

Recipe created by Sarah Holtz

This recipe calls for lemons. I like the addition of some orange for sweetness, but you can use limes, or oranges, or any citrus you have on hand.


2 Clean Glass Quart Mason Jars

18 medium lemons

2 small oranges

4 whole bay leaves

2 tsp whole pepper corns (Use black, pink, rainbow, whatever you have)

Sea salt


Wash the whole citrus fruits well. We are going to be consuming the whole fruit even the peel! Put one bay leaf and a pinch of sea salt, and a bit of peppercorns in the bottom of each jar. Using a knife, we need to peal the lemons into quarters. The idea is to open the fruit like the petals of a flower, taking care not to cut all the way through the fruit. I will do this by placing the lemon on the cutting board between two wooden spoon handles. Then, I cut the lemon down to the spoon handle. The wooden handles prevent my knife from cutting all the way through the bottom of the fruit. When done successfully, the bottom end is still intact holding the quartered fruit together. Generously sprinkle salt into the cut sections of the fruit. Place the salted lemon into the jar. Sprinkle more sea salt and a bit more peppercorns into the jar.

Repeat the pealing and the salting of the lemons adding layers to each jar. Really push the quartered lemons into the jar. As the jar fills and nears the top add a second bay leaf. Before the jar is completely full, petal the orange and squish him into the jar. By the time the jar is full, it should have layer after layer of lemons, peppercorns, and salt. The juice from the lemons should squeeze out and fill the jar. If there is not enough liquid to cover the lemons (and orange) add more lemon juice to the jar. Put a lid on this jar and let it sit in a cool dry place for at least 8 weeks. They can ferment longer, and the flavors will develop more. I think 4 months is about perfect. They can sit fermented and preserved until you are ready to use them. When they come out, they are rich, spicy from the peppercorns, and tangy from the lemon juice. They have the salty flavor and with the orange a bit of sweetness to balance it all out.

Once the fermentation process is over and you are actively using the lemons, keep the jar in the refrigerator.