Honey preserved lemons…

Over Thanksgiving we made a little road trip to see some family for some good eats and company over the holiday.  It is pretty amazing what one can grow and keep in Southern California. Pumpkins, zucchini, varieties of squash, herbs, lettuce, kale, orchards of lime and lemon trees, and soon to be persimmon trees, avocado trees, oh…and a handful of chickens, some playful cats, and the ever fetching pup. Their citrus trees were so heavy with fruit, the branches were literally breaking, so they spoiled us and sent us home with a trunk full of lemons and limes.  Now what to do with a mountain of citrus other than give some away and freeze the juices? Well, this little darling of a recipe is proving to come in more and more handy as we creep closer to winter.  A snotty nose here, cough there, sneezing here, fevers and chills there.  All of these little bugs are making the rounds and making us want to curl up on our couches with a hot cup of tea and a blanket.  These lemons are amazing in tea, minced in yogurt, on toast with herbed goat cheese, as a preserve in breads. I’m sure preserving tangerines, clementines, or oranges..oooh or blood oranges…would prove equally delectable and delightful. Raw honey has some amazing antimicrobial properties to it created by an enzyme left by our friends the bees, so the lemons will keep refrigerated for up to 3 months…if they hang around that long.  Also, let me know if you turn this into an adult libation, warm scotch or bourbon anyone?

Honey preserved lemons…

6-8 Meyer lemons, cut horizontally into rings (any variety will do, but I like the floral essence of Meyers)

1 cup raw honey

½ cup organic cane sugar

6-8 whole cloves

a cinnamon stick, just for fun


*You will also need sterilized jars any size.


In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup of water, honey, sugar, and cloves to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and slowly add the lemons. Simmer for about 10 minutes.   Remove from heat and let steep covered, for 8 hours. Re-heat mixture to a low simmer, then slowly transfer to your jars.  Let cool to room temperature, then seal and refrigerate for a week before using. 

Eat together, toast to each other, and share!


11 responses to “Honey preserved lemons…

  • Jill

    Doesn’t boiling the honey destroy the raw qualities of it? Just curious–thanks!

  • foodfilosofi

    I’m not a raw foodist by any means and I’m sure boiling alters the medicinal qualities honey may have. Although the antimicrobial properties that honey maintains is more having to do with the fact that bacteria get attracted to and then stuck in the actual honey, then the honey will absorb the water from the bacteria body and thus lyse and kill the bacteria…this according to my scientist husband 🙂 These preserved lemons were really meant as more of a soothing tea. Hope this answers your question! Thanks for reading!

    • tatazbliska

      The melting point of crystallized honey is between 40 and 50 °C (104 and 122 °F). Too much heat will destroy the nutritional elements of honey. Heating up to 37 °C (98.6 °F) causes loss of nearly 200 components, some of which are antibacterial. Heating to 40 °C (104 °F) reduces enzymes.

      • foodfilosofi

        Thanks! I am not a raw foodist by any means. I make this for comfort and it is delicious.

      • tatazbliska

        I tried this recipe, heated the water-honey mixture only to 30 °C and it was great! I’ll try it the next time with boiling mixture and let you know if there is and difference in taste.
        I think you can reduce the heating temp, if you use fresh honey which still is liquid.

  • cat

    can it be done with lime?

    • foodfilosofi

      Hi there! I don’t see why not, limes just have a little more bitter taste than lemon, but if you like that then I’m sure it would taste just as lovely. Thinking about it, lime always has a cinnamon essence to me so…try and let me know!

  • NiteRain

    Thank you for this post.

  • mags

    Can i had ginger as i like green tea with lemons honey & ginger help please

    • foodfilosofi

      I’d be careful with the ginger, it tends to ferment (aka. Ginger Bug), I guess it would depend on how long you kept it and the size batch you make. I would error on the side of caution and leave it out of the preserves, but steep it in maybe with a tea strainer. Thanks!

  • mags

    Thanks will do lemons but stick to ginger from a jar

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