South African Lemon Pickle

"This versatile pickle is great with cold meats or cheeses, and is really nice to serve with a cheese board. It originally came from our S A herb guru, Margaret Roberts, who adores lemon for its many uses and medicinal value. The pickle is very good with smoked meats or, finely chopped, as a garnish for oily fish like mackerel, tuna or salmon. As soon as I have enough thick-skinned lemons again, I'll make this again and post a photo!"
photo by French Tart photo by French Tart
photo by French Tart
photo by French Tart photo by French Tart
photo by French Tart photo by French Tart
photo by French Tart photo by French Tart
Ready In:
5-6 cups




  • You need clean bottling jars for this. You need about 5 - 6 1-cup jars or 3 larger ones. Put into a cold oven, then heat oven 325 deg C/160 deg F and leave until needed.
  • Halve the lemons, then slice into thin slices. Remove pips.
  • Put the rest of the ingredients in a fairly big pot with a thick bottom, stir well, and bring to boiling.
  • Boil for about 12 minutes, then add the lemon slices. Stir well once and pull from heat.
  • Carefully take your sterilised bottles from the oven (best is to put them straight on to a metal oven tin).
  • With a slotted spoon, ladle the lemon pieces into the jars, the fill up with the liquid, to cover the lemon slices.
  • Very carefully, using oven gloves, wipe spills off the bottle necks with a damp cloth.
  • Seal bottles with their tops.
  • Cool, wipe completely clean, label, and leave for 2 weeks before using.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Rushni D.
    The 'let it sit for 2 weeks' bit, is that in the fridge?


  1. fowler998
    How long will these jars keep if left sealed? Do they need to be kept in the fridge? I have just made some as gifts.
  2. French Tart
    I cannot seem to post a NO STAR review anymore - so, I have opted for 5 stars for now! I am basing this initial review on the recipe and how it was written...............the ease of making it and the instructions etc! I have not been able to taste this yet, as it needs to "sit" for 2 weeks - but I already suspect that it will be 10 star!! The recipe is well written and VERY easy to follow - good instructions and tips. The quantities appear to be spot on - I halved the recipe as I have LOADS of pickles and chutneys etc to make my way through - so, I opted for 5 lemons and the rest of the ingredients were pro-rata. I made two half pound jars out of my 5 lemons - and the smell of all of those lemons and combined spices was intoxicating! I was LUCKY enough to be able to use REAL Cape Malay Curry powder - a gift from a Herbs and Spices swap I had with Zurie last year!! I used unrefined light brown sugar and also added the optional mustard seeds. I will return with MORE photos and my final review in a couple of weeks - but it is looking good! Thanks Zuri for posting this much missed and classic South African pickle recipe - we plan to eat this alongside freshly grilled fish, as we used to when we lived in the Cape! FT:-)
  3. Janine Ross
    If Margaret Roberts had anything to do with this it wil be excellent, my fellow south african, thanks for this recipe, will be making it very soon, 5 stars in anticipation!


I'm a widow, retired, and I love cooking. I live on the coast in South Africa and I love seafood. You're welcome to my recipes (all kinds, definitely not just seafood!) Just remember that no recipe is ever cast in stone -- adjust to your taste! The photo was taken at a rustic seaside restaurant on our West Coast, approx 1 year ago (2016).
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