June 18, 2010

Sweet and Sour Indian Lemon Preserve



This is such a simple preserve to put together and it tastes out of this world. Small Indian lemons are macerated in a golden sweet-salty turmeric liquid for at least two weeks until the whole mixture becomes delectably syrupy. Both kids and grown-ups will love it!
Enjoy this lemon preserve with Indian breads like puri, paratha or thepla and rice or lentil dishes like khichdi. It’s also a perfect dip for poppadoms!

I used small Indian lemons from my local Indian grocers as they are the perfect size for this preserve, and they pack a huge punch. They’re tiny, yet lethal. Rather like myself.


10 small unwaxed Indian lemons
250ml lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 tsp ground sea salt
¼ tsp turmeric powder


1. Gently scrub each lemon under warm water, rinse and dry.

2. Halve the lemons and put them in a sterilised glass jar.

3. In a small saucepan heat the lemon juice and add the sugar, salt and turmeric and heat until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved. Boil until slightly syrupy.

4. Pour the lemon juice mixture over the jar of lemons and allow this to cool before putting a lid on top.

5. When cool, put on the lid and place the jar in the fridge.

6. Leave the jar in the fridge for at least two weeks before consuming, shaking every day until the lemons become beautifully syrupy and are ready to eat.


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29 responses to “Sweet and Sour Indian Lemon Preserve”

  1. Mina Joshi says:

    Love this pickle. I make it just like your recipe but don't add the sugar. I'll try adding it next time.

  2. Jay says:

    Dear Sanju,

    Delicious n tempting recipe..
    Loved the beautiful click..
    You are most welcome to my space.

  3. indosungod says:

    I have tasted this just once and it was indeed delicious. I am absolutely sure I won't get the Indian lemons but limes seem to do a good substitute. Will try and let you know how it went.

  4. Sanjana says:

    Thanks everyone 🙂

    indosungod- Limes would indeed be beautiful, too. Please do let me know how it goes 🙂

  5. Angie's Recipes says:

    A mouthwatering pickle. What do you serve them with? Or enjoy them as they are?

  6. islandvittles.com says:

    These look wonderful…I'm going to try your recipe with organic sweet limes. Ilove preserved citrus…thanks for the post!

  7. Priya says:

    Lemon preserves looks fabulous…

  8. Mr. P says:

    I know what you mean – tiny yet lethal. When we used to fly out of Delhi, the lemons in our liquor carts were Indian ones. Tiny, and sour as hell! And also green… yet not limes!

  9. AshKuku says:

    They are beautiful….. The lemon, the wedges, the prep & THE CAPTURES……. 😉


  10. SAINT BAPU says:



  11. Sanjana says:

    Thanks everyone 🙂 Hope your preserving goes well!

    Angie- It can be served with Indian breads like puri, paratha, thepla, chappatis or rice dishes like khichdi. Or with poppadoms as a starter or side.

  12. Anncoo says:

    This really makes me mouth watering. I want to bookmark it!

  13. penny aka jeroxie says:

    I can do this. Have heaps of lemons in my backyard

  14. Lazaro Cooks! says:

    Fantastic lemon preserve. I can think of many good uses for it in my kithcen. Thank you for sharing.

    Be Well…

  15. Linn @ Swedish Home Cooking says:

    That's really interesting thing that you have put together! I think it sounds super delicious. Mmm!

  16. Trix says:

    Ahhh, how interesting. I absolutely adore North African preserved lemons, and this is like a sweet and sour take on it. I know I would just swoon! Must make this.

  17. alison says:

    looks amazing!congrats,sanjana for top 9!

  18. artipatel88 says:

    Tiny but lethal…Like it! 😉

  19. Kathy Gori says:

    I absolutely love this! Can't wait to try it! If I can't get these lemons how would key limes do instead? any suggestions?

  20. notyet100 says:

    i am droolin here.

  21. 3 hungry tummies says:

    Oh that sure looks good! I must try it with normal lemon.

  22. Sanyukta Gour(Bayes) says:

    drooooooooooooling ..lovely,fabulous n tongue tickling lemon presetves.yum..following u..

  23. Sanjana says:

    Thanks guys 🙂

    Kathy- Key limes would be perfect. Any small lemon/lime would do if you can't find Indian lemons.

  24. Sharmilee! :) says:

    Tongue tickling preserve…..nice clicks

  25. astheroshe says:

    I have never seen these kinds of lemons? I am curious about the flavor…next time i go to the farmers market , i will look for them 🙂

  26. KarmaFree Cooking says:

    These Indian lemons are just the same as the "criollo lemons" we have in Puerto Rico. They're awesome…

    I know you have mentioned you eat this with paratha and such, but HOW?? You eat just the syrup? Do you eat the limes cut into pieces? How do you eat these gorgeous preserved lemons??

  27. Sanjana says:

    KarmaFree Cooking- Those Puerto Rican lemons sound perfect for this! Once the lemons have been preserved for at least two weeks, they will become very soft and delicious. This way you can just dip Indian breads (especially if they're spicy- they would pair very well with the sweet/sourness of the lemons- check out my recipe for puris and paratha) in the syrup, crushing the whole soft lemons at the same time. The sweet juices will seep out and will taste perfect when mopped up with bread. Traditionally this is eaten with khichdi- check the recipe index for a recipe. You can cut the lemons into smaller pieces when you serve them if you prefer. They will be soft enough to eat whole and they get better with time 🙂 Hope this helps! If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to comment or e-mail! Happy preserving!

  28. Pavithra says:

    Wow the lemon preserve sounds delicious… Yummy!!!!

  29. For the Love of Jewels.... says:

    Would this work with meyer lemons? I have a boat load in my yard and want to use them up!

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