Preserved Lemons Recipe
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Preserved Lemons

FOR 1 PINT

3-4 medium-size Meyer, Eureka or Lisbon lemons, or just use the number of lemons you need to fill the jar you have on hand.
kosher salt
fresh lemon juice (optional additions below)
*NOTE: A round-shaped jar may accommodate round lemons better than a tall jar.

THE METHOD
Scrub the lemons well (removing any wax coating), rinse and dry. Cut a thin slice off the stem end (so the lemon will stand without tipping) then, cutting downward from the blossom end, slice the lemon into 4 wedges - stopping about 1/2 to 3/4-inch above the base (stem) end, so that the lemon segments will remain attached. [If desired, you may gently spread the wedges open, and cut each section in half once more, lengthwise - again leaving the slices attached at the base.]

Gently spread the wedges open, like the petals of a flower, and sprinkle the pulp generously with Kosher salt. Press the lemons back into their original lemon shape, and place them in a clean, dry jar. Repeat with more lemons until the jar is almost filled when the fruit is pressed down firmly. Pour in enough fresh lemon juice to cover the lemons by about 1/2 inch. [Note: some cooks cover the salted lemons with water instead of juice, but the flavor is less-intense; some cooks do not add any liquid, but press down on the lemons daily, and allow the natural juices to gradually be released and rise in the jar.]

Cover the jar - but not airtight until fermentation has completed. Place the jar in the refrigerator or in a cool spot in your kitchen. Shake or jiggle the jar every day to dissolve the salt. After about a week, the lemons will plump and it may be necessary to add more fresh juice to keep them covered. After the salt has dissolved (about one week), pour a 1/4-inch layer of olive oil over the lemons and their liquid. This (optional step) will keep out air and prevents the formation of any white film or mold. At this time, if the lemons were not refrigerated before, refrigerate them for safest storage. They’ll keep for months.

Lemons are ready to use when the peel has become translucent, which may happen in only a week or two - but they are best when allowed to ferment at least one month before using.

TIPS: If the flavor or color - or fragrance - changes noticeably over time, discard the lemons and make a new batch.

Expect the liquid in the jar to thicken and smell richly of lemon.

If a white film appears on the lemons, it may be simply rinsed off.

Be sure to keep the lemons submerged in liquid at all times.

Do not put your fingers in the brine; instead, retrieve lemons with a clean instrument.

OPTIONAL: You may add to the lemons during fermentation: cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, whole coriander seeds, whole peppercorns, whole Turkish (not California) bay leaves.

 

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