The Shelf Life of Preserved Lemons

I found a jar of preserved lemons hidden in the pantry that I made about 4 tears ago. According to various cookbooks,the shelf life ranges from 6 months to one year to indefinitely. The lemons were preserved with a couple of bay leaves,coriander seeds and black peppercorns.Oh and lots of salt! They have remained submerged in the lemon juice.
Are they still safe to use?

  • Posted by: T.T.
  • May 20, 2011
  • 17639 views
  • 9 Comments

9 Comments

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Amanda Hesser
Amanda Hesser May 20, 2011

They are probably safe but they may not taste very good. I find their flavor begins to diminish after just a few months, even in the fridge.

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boulangere
boulangere May 20, 2011

Good to know. I've got some in the fridge that need to get used up.

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T.T.
T.T. May 20, 2011

Thanks Amanda! Do the flavors loose their brightness,or they are not as lemony? I ll give one a try. I am itching to use them. I suppose I'll have to get some fresh jars going.

I would love to hear some more feed back on this thread

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boulangere
boulangere May 20, 2011

Thank you for asking the question, TT. The same had crossed my mind, but I obviously hadn't run it to ground. I seriously have a lot that have been in the fridge for probably 4 months now. I've used a few, but I need to get a move on. I'd hate to lose them.

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AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames May 20, 2011

I have some preserved lemons made about 15 months ago with my own, right off the tree, Meyers and a lot of good, fresh juice, which I topped off every few months until lemon season ended last summer. I topped off the lemon juice again in January. The preserved lemons now are terrific. They're a bit more mellow, but with a deeper lemon flavor, than the "younger" ones. I don't refrigerate them, but do keep them in a consistently cool storage area, away from the light. (I'm still trying to figure what I was thinking at the time, making 4+ quarts of them . . . . ) ;o)

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AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames May 20, 2011

Also, I read somewhere (a respected cookbook author, I'm sure, but I cannot remember who) saying that he doesn't even open his until they've been around for a year, because he likes the ones that have aged so much better. I agree. That said, I also topped mine off with fresh lemon juice, which I suspect contributes to their good staying power. ;o)

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boulangere
boulangere May 20, 2011

If 4 quarts have you wondering what you were thinking, AntoniaJames, I have 10. Seriously.

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Kiterschkes
Kiterschkes December 7, 2018

Yes. Salt is a natural preservative. Submersion is key as well. The flavor should by now be very intense so follow guidance on major websites, i.e., FoodTV, NYTimes, etc. I have some current jars ranging from 2 1/2 years to 5 years and they are all very heavy with flavor and umami.

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Nancy
Nancy December 8, 2018

Tangential but helpful tip for keeping them a long time.
One of my recipes reminds us to remove the lemons with a clean utensil...not something already used in cooking or stirring other food ....to avoid contaminating or adding bacteria to the preserved lemons.

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