Monday, September 29, 2008

Preserved Lime

There are times when there are many items that are short in my pantry but this item is never one of them. I make sure i will have one bottle on hand. These preserved limes are used for treatment when the body is off balanced and the throat is sore. While fresh lime juice makes great refreshment drinks , preserved lime makes a better one especially with a can of club soda. Preserved lime is very easy to make, just allow time to do all the work.


12 Fresh limes
6 Cups water
1/2 Cup of salt


Put limes in a basket or colander, and put them out the sun.
Sun-dry limes for 2 to 3 days.
In a large pot, mix salt with 6 cups water, cook and stir till salt is dissolved, add limes and cook until skin color turns evenly to brownish yellow.
Remove boiled limes from the pot, but keep salted water in the pot and set a side till it is completely cool down .
Quarter a lime lengthwise, stopping 1/2 inch from the bottom so the quarters fan out but remain attached at one end and put it in a jar or container, repeat cutting the other limes.
Pour cooled boiled salted water over - water level must be above the limes.

To keep limes to stay beneath the surface, use a ceramic bowl to press the limes down.
Closed the lid and continue to sun-dry the jar of limes for 6 days.

Preserved lime can be stored in refrigerator up to six months.



Anonymous said...


Do you cut the limes into chunks? Judging from your photo, the limes seem to be in quarters. Or am I seeing things? :)

Anonymous said...

Your recipe brought back memories of my grandmother when she live with us in Hawaii doing it. We had lot of limes trees and she preserve a lot to give to friend and other family.


Angie said...

I did some preserved lemon last summer.......hmm...not sure what to do with them.
Have you any recipes using preserved citrons?

lilyng said...


i most have left out the whole sentence of cutting the limes.

thanks for letting me know.

lilyng said...


The preserved limes are kept for medicinal values.

i have not seen any chinese recipes but north african cuisine cooks with them alot.


Hey there! Come and join us for a BBQ buffet at the beach in Penang this Christmas with watersports activities included! Sign up now! Check out my website at Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,

How do we use the lime after preserving. Do we drink the water? Or only mix the lime with water to drink when needed?


Anonymous said...

Lily, do you left the lime in jar for 6 days under sunlight, and only then keep them in the fridge? also, how do you use them? iam constantly suffering from sore throat due to sjongren syndrome and iam hoping for a bit of relieve. also, so much of my lime wasted as i can only freeze them.. many thanks , sunchen

lilyng said...

run with the wave

how i wish i am in penang. perhaps my malaysian readers will go and join the bbq buffet this christmas.

lilyng said...


to make a drink, i will blend one or two of the limes with water and sugar. If you like cold drinks, then add ice cubes and don't add water. If you like to add club soda, then do not add so much ice.

lilyng said...


how nice to have a lime tree. In sun, the limes mature faster but in-door is ok, only it takes a longer time. the main factor is, sun dry the limes and if time is not on your side, you can dry them in a very slow oven.

J.C. said...

Dear Lily,

I feel so blessed to find this recipe. I love preserved lime with hot water & honey added. This really soothe my throat as I tend to have phlegm easily.

Usually I will go to a cafe to get this drink. I have always wanted to do it but do not know the method. A friend said her grandma used to make tis in Ipoh but my friend doesn't have the recipe. So, thank you very much for sharing this recipe with us! :o)

lilyng said...

Dear Aunty Lily,
Thanks for all your wonderful recipes - they make me less homesick. Can you tell me how to preserve chillis? I just bought tons out of impulse and I'm not sure how to preserve them. My friend said you can keep them for a year! - Jay El

Jay El

i will make some pickled green jalapeno and post asap

brad said...

great recipe, my grandmother is old school chineese and uses this stuff for medicimal purposes. used to sooth coughing and upset stomach. she buys this stuff in hawaii but we havnt been back for many years. i just cooked up a batch for her and will let her try it. so far it looks like da kine.

Tracy said...

Hi Lily, I have made this preserved lime months ago from your recipe and it turned out good, thanks! By the way, I have used it to cook the beef shank soup with some preserved mustard green, it tasted good but how to avoid the soup from becoming 'bitter' taste during the cooking hours?

lilyng said...


it is the pith that causes the bitterness, perhaps you should scrape the pith before using. For beef shank or brisket stew, i like to use the dried tangerine peel and i try to remove as much of the pith as possible. said...

Do we remove the seeds and at which stage? Thanks

J.C. said...

Dear Lily,

Glad to share with you that I have successfully made this lime. I used 'limau nipis' instead of the smaller 'limau kasturi' (kat chai). It did wonder to my sore throat when I consume it by adding hot water and honey. Thanks a lot for this recipe.

A friend from Ipoh said some senior people in Ipoh kept their preserved limes for over 10 years and they are treasured as medicine for healing sore throat.

lilyng said...


thanks for letting me know. my dear friend, matilda from sydney, told me too that she has a bottle of preserved limes that are 3 years old and they are really good for sore throat. i still have 2 limes left over from this venture, so they must be very medicinal.

when limes are cheap, i think i will make a batch this summer

Lin said...

Hi Lily,
I'm wondering if I can replace the limes with kumquats.. will they taste the same?

lilyng said...


i don't know, perhaps it will work and of course the taste will be different as kumquat might not be so tart

Anonymous said...

Dear Lily,

Our family's just received a jar of preserved limes from a friend. The thing is, it was sour, but sweet too! What is the recipe for this variation?

Regards, Grace

lilyng said...


i have no idea what sort of preserved limes you have which are sour and sweet. since they are sweet, guess you can use them to make lemonade. Blend them up, add soda water and ice and enjoy

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,

Do you know how to make 'seng buay', the salted preserved plums? I have wild plums growing here and was wondering if I can use them? Thanks in advance :)

lily ng said...


i am sorry i have no idea how seng buay is made but perhaps this can help

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