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.
fresh lemon juice (optional additions below)
*NOTE: A round-shaped jar may accommodate round lemons better than a
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
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.