Salted citrus an easy way to have that fresh flavor on hand for cooking all year long. Try salted lemons, tangerines, and salt preserved oranges to keep a variety of flavors on hand.
Early in the year, our local citrus trees are bursting with fruit. Wanting to preserve some of that goodness, I decided to try salted citrus. Well, it worked. Because guess what? One* of the tangerines in the image below is two years old. Isn’t that wild??
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Let’s be clear – preserved lemons and other salted citrus is not for eating out of hand. The preserved fruit is incredibly salty and best reserved for cooking. But people. This is a super easy way to preserve citrus of any kind. Salted lemons and salted tangerines will keep for years at room temperature.
Making salt preserved lemons and tangerines
While my salted lemons and tangerines remained very true to color for the first couple of years, it’s actually quite common for the fruit to turn brown as they age further.
Some people even put their jars of fruit out in the sun to hurry the preservation process; that seems to contribute to the browning of the fruit.
One lesson I learned the hard way: Don’t use one of your nice jars. The combination of salt, moisture, and time will cause the lid to rust. Opt for a recycled jar that you won’t mind getting rid of once your batch of preserved oranges is used up.
How to use salt preserved oranges, tangerines, or lemons
- Add to salted lemons to marinades and salad dressings.
- Stuff preserved oranges inside a chicken before you roast it.
- Chop salted lemons or limes into salsa or chutney.
- Use in Moroccan dishes like this tagine or this adaptation.
- Chop finely and add to a pasta dish or couscous.
*If you haven’t figured it out already, the two-year-old salted tangerine in the top image is on the right.
★ Did you make this recipe for preserved citrus? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
Salted Lemons, Tangerines, or Oranges
Let's be clear - salted citrus is not for eating. These preserved oranges, lemons, and tangerines are incredibly salty and best reserved for cooking.
- Enough citrus to fill a gallon sized jar tangerine, lemon, orange, grapefruit - whatever you like!
- 1-2 cups sea salt avoid salt that has anti-caking agents like sodium silicoaluminate or sodium ferrocyanide
Make four equally spaced, vertical cuts almost to the center of the fruit. You want the core to hold the fruit together, but the deep cuts allow salt to enter the fruit.
Or you could simply quarter the fruit.
Sprinkle a layer of salt on the bottom of your jar. Set a layer of fruit on top of the salt and shake around a bit. Continue alternating layers and shaking until the jar is full. Make sure that the fruit is well-coated with salt.
Secure lid in place and set in an out of the way spot. The fruit will begin to release juice; occasionally turn the jar over and back gently, just to redistribute the salt and juices. Set aside for a couple of months. Or years.