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My husband’s family lives in California and they sent us loads of lemons; fresh from their lemon tree. What to do with so many lemons?… Can them and give them to your friends and neighbors!
Canning lemons is a simple, thoughtful and inexpensive gift idea. Not, to mention, canned lemons are awesome with tea. We’ve been enjoying them for a couple of weeks. And what Russian/Ukrainian person doesn’t like tea? Each pint-sized can holds 2 to 2 1/2 lemons. They will stay wonderful at least a month in the fridge.
This isn’t a typical canning recipe, where you can set them on the shelf for months, so don’t try it. Keep those canned lemons refrigerated.
Ingredients for Canned/Preserved Lemons:
8 lemons (for 3 pint size jars)
2-3 cups sugar
3 pint size glass jars
How to Make Canned/Preserved Lemons:
1.Start by washing your jars with soap and water, then fill each jar 1/3 with boiling hot water and swirl it around, then drain and repeat. Or, you can boil the cans in a large pot for 5 minutes (if you’re a real germaphobe) or run them through your dish washer. Do the same with the lids.
2. Wash your lemons thoroughly using a sponge or dish brush, then slice them into rings or half circles.
3. Place sliced lemons into jar (about 1/2 lemon at a time). Cover lemon slices with at least 3 Tbsp sugar.
4. Repeat layers of lemon and sugar till you get to the top, pressing down the lemons as you go.
5. Go on, add more sugar until you get to the top. Cover with the lid and refrigerate. You can also put a nice piece of fabric over the flat lid and screw the top over it for a nicer presentation. The sugar will turn into a syrup as it stands in the fridge. There you have it!
- 8 lemons, for 3 pint size jars
- 2-3 cups sugar
- 3 pint size glass jars
Start by washing your jars with soap and water, then fill each jar 1/3 with boiling hot water and swirl it around, then drain and repeat. Or, you can boil the cans in a large pot for 5 minutes (if you're a real germaphobe) or run them through your dish washer. Do the same with the lids.
Wash your lemons thoroughly using a sponge or dish brush, then slice them into rings or half circles.
Place sliced lemons into jar (about 1/2 lemon at a time). Cover lemon slices with at least 3 Tbsp sugar.
Repeat layers of lemon and sugar till you get to the top, pressing down the lemons as you go.
Go on, add more sugar until you get to the top. Cover with the lid and refrigerate. You can also put a nice piece of fabric over the flat lid and screw the top over it for a nicer presentation. The sugar will turn into a syrup as it stands in the fridge. There you have it!
♥ FAVORITE THINGS ♥
Shown in this post: (nope, no one paid us to write this; just stuff we love):
*This lovely (and incredibly useful) Wusthof Classic Ikon Knife *My 2-cup liquid measuring cup gets the most use Anchor Hocking Measuring Cup *Wide-mouth jars are the easiest to fill and use Ball Mason Jars*We’ve had our Philips electric kettle for about 8 years, still going strong. It’s not available anymore, so hopefully it will never break ;).
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Can these be frozen? I just made a couple jars and popped them in the fridge, however, I can’t see finishing them all in a couple months. Looking to have less food waste. Thanks.
Hi Wendi, I haven’t tied that myself. If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe.
Hi!! My Mother does this and uses a large pickle jar… layers lemons, combo with limes, or even pomegranate😋 with organic sugar… leaves the jar out for 3 months and the syrup that is squeezed from the fruits is placed in an sterilized apple cider vinegar jar!! Placed in fridge and used for so many things! Great for refreshing drinks with added water, sparkling water or added to recipes. I look forward to her jars all the time!!! 😋
Love it! Thanks a lot for sharing that with us, we appreciate the added info!
Thank you for this lovely refrigerator lemon canning recipe. I learned to can the “old fashioned” wayfrom my grandmother. Born in 1800s. Water bath that is. 😊
You’re welcome! Thank you so much for sharing that with me.
I have made this before but my syrup came out tasting bitter. I did exactly as written and also took out all the seeds. Any ideas? Thank you!
Hi Yen, make sure to use enough sugar to submerge the lemons fully, otherwise the flavor of the white pith can come through more. The seeds don’t really affect the flavor. Also, make sure to store in the refrigerator.
Thanks, I love it. I also add cloves.
You’re welcome, I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe!
hi, i was wondering does this process naturally seal the can or do i have to seal it somehow after the sugar has naturally melted? i made some using the water bath method but the sugar kind of clumped together and i was wondering if i can use water bath method to seal after sugar melts or should i use traditional method of melting down sugar with the fruit before jarring?
Hi, this recipe is intended for refrigerator storage and not shelf storage as it doesn’t seal.
Can this method be used with strawberries and raspberries?
Hi Julie, I can’t say this specific method will. We do have preserve recipes HERE & our jam recipes here.
How long should it take for the syrup to develop?
Hi Jennie, it usually takes a day or so, but you just want to make sure the lemons are covered in sugar so when the syrup forms, they will be submerged.
If you really pack them with sugar, do you need to refrigerate?
Hi Karen, I haven’t tried it without refrigerating and this recipe is really intended to be a refrigerated recipe. Without testing it that way, I can’t really say if it would work to store them at room temp if boiled and vacuum sealed. The recipes I’ve seen that keep at room temp use loads of salt but I just haven’t tried it that way.
can we use canning lemon for making lemonade drink,
I haven’t tested that but I think it could work. If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe.
hi, Natasha. i was wondering if you have a recipe for lemon water?
Hi Dasha, I do have a post for several varieties of flavored water. I hope you love it!
Hi well I’m insulin resistance so putting all that sugar in the lemon wouldn’t be a very good idea for me..Although I love your idea for other folks. What I did was cut all the lemons up put them into a pan and simmer them for about 15 minutes… I had my jars all ready and then I divided up the liquid and lemons put them into five jars, put the lids on and sealed them tight. What I will use this for in the future is to heat up a jar and put honey in for tea or sore throat aid.. …
That sounds like a great idea!! Thank you for sharing that with us 🙂
Do you think it would taste as nice if I use oranges instead of lemons?
Hi Tracy, I haven’t tried persevering oranges this way only because I’m not sure how I would use them. I put lemons in tea and if you can find some usefulness for canning oranges, I think it would be worth an experiment since it’s pretty easy to make. Let me know if you try that! 🙂
Can this be done with Splenda?
Hi Lillian, I really don’t have any experience with splenda so I’m not sure if it would preserve the lemons the same way or if they would spoil faster. Maybe someone else has some insight into this? Thanks in advance! 🙂
Splenda does not pull fluid like sugar so no!
Wonder how fresh peppermint would pair….
Oooh I’ve never tried it!!
Maybe some ginger, too. 🙂
sounds so good
Could you boil the bottles to vacuum seal for a longer shelf life?
Hi Sally, I haven’t tried it that way and this recipe is really intended to be a refrigerated recipe. Without testing it that way, I can’t really say if it would work to store them at room temp if boiled and vacuum sealed. The recipes I’ve seen that keep at room temp use loads of salt but I just haven’t tried it that way.
Hi, could I neglect the sugar part? If so, could it still be kept in fridge for a month?
The sugar preserves the lemons and it won’t last very long without it. With sugar, if it completely covered withs sugar, it can last for a month.
can I do this with other fruits?
It depends on what kind of fruit and what you are planning to use it for.
what else can you do with these
You can add them to hot or cold drinks – punch bowls or tea or just to add a touch of fanciness to your water glass :). It’s a nice way of preserving lemons if you have a bunch of them since they don’t sit around too long on the counter. These will stay preserved in the fridge for weeks. 🙂
where did you get the jars with the pretty checkered lids?
I recycled a jam jar 🙂
What a lovely gift idea! I remember my mom preserving lemons like that when I was little. Back in the 80s Russia if you stumble on lemons in winter months one would have to buy a few kilos because it was a rare occasion! We always had a large jar stored in the fridge for tea or even just pop a slice of sugared lemon in your mouth-the real lemon drops!
Don’t you just love when some food take you back down the memory lane into your childhood :D.
Great recipe! I have also experimented with this recipe and added raw honey instead of sugar; it turned out pretty good with tea. Also, this helps if you have the sniffles, the vitamin C from the lemon and the honey is a good natural antibiotic.
Thank you for the tip Christina, lemon and honey is a great combination :).
What I do is I wash and dry them then cut the in quarters and get the seeds out. Then I put them tgrough a meat grinder on the smallest one. And then mix it with sugar to taste . Let it stand at room temp for about an hour till all the sugar melts . It turns into sort of like a jam 🙂 I freeze it in cans and it stays good for the whole winter. As soo. As im out just put it in the fridge over night and you got yourself fresh lemob jam. It tastes so good in tea.:) and gosh you should see how beautiful it is! I wish to have a picture to show you! Give this a try 🙂
That’s brilliant and it sounds so easy!! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂
How long is it safe to keep lemons this way? Is it possible to pressure can them verses storing them in the fridge for a longer shelf life?
You know I haven’t tried that so I’m not sure. I bet you could if you pack it in. The acidity and sugar is definitely ample to preserve them as long as they are completely covered with sugar/liquid.
I have also done this with honey. And I have added sliced ginger as well for cold season.
What else can I use these lemons for besides tea?
Hmmm,… good question. Lets see, there’s iced tea or hot tea 🙂 You can add them into any cold or hot drink really. They make the drink prettier.
Hi Natasha! I am interested in getting some pint-sized jars and noticed that there are two different choices. There is regular mouth lids and wide mouth lids. Which one did you get?
I bought wide mouth lids.
Natasha. Can I use these directions to make peach varenie? We just have so many peaches and I have no idea what to do with them. You have anything on your mind?
I would suggest cooking peach varenye. I don’t think this recipe would work for peaches
Did this the other week, almost done! Guests loved this for tea as well! Cute idea for gift baskets for sure! Thanks Natasha!
I’ll be handing them out this coming Christmas. So easy and fun to make! I’ll have to figure out how to spruce them up and turn them into lovely gifts 🙂
U also can sterilize glass containers by microwaving them in microwave for 1.30 minute. just a hint. I find it easier, instead of boiling. The lids have to be boiled though. 🙂
That’s a great tip! How much water do you fill them with before microwaving?
I loved this idea! Made them for Christmas gift baskets and everyone loved them! thanks again
You can also freeze lemons. I cut them the way I like, put them in ziploc bags and in the freezer.
My 3 year old daughter likes to add 1 to 2 cubes of ice to her tea, but now instead of ice I add lemon.
There are many health benefits of lemons.
That’s a great idea; freezing them and using them instead of ice cubes. I still have a bunch of lemons left. Thanks Mila!
this is a great gift idea for christmas! thanks natasha
You’re welcome Anna, too bad I won’t get the caramel apples up in time. Those would be a good gift idea too.
Hi would you be able to post cake “spartak” recipe?
Yes, just not sure when. My mom has a wonderful recipe 🙂
Where did you buy those cool cans?:)
Walmart! 🙂 I think they were less than $1 per can.