About 3 weeks ago I started getting a bit stir crazy without anything fermenting in our house. I’m used to nursing kefir along, watching cider bubbling in the closet or chasing babies to keep them away from a boiling kettle of beer. One of our good foodie friends here started telling me about how they had learned how to make preserved lemons recently and I instantly decided that had to happen immediately.
There’s really nothing to it. Some lemons, lots of salt, a bit of extra lemon juice and time.
You can slice them or the more traditional approach is to score them almost all the way through the middle four ways and pack them full of a tablespoon of salt per lemon. I tried both methods and I personally liked quartering them as they are easier to remove after they are finished.
Smash them down with a wooden spoon or a cocktail muddler to release their juices. You will want to repeat this the first 3 days or so as they will continue to release juices. I didn’t have super juicy lemons so I added additional lemon juice to them after 3 days to completely submerge them in juice.
Most of the recipes I consulted suggested a tight fitting lid which I did not have for this large jar. My normal paper towel with a rubberband tactic that I use with my kefir seems to have resulted in an equally delicious result so I believe as long as the contaminants are kept out you should be fine.
And then we wait….and wait…and wait some more. I tried to forget about how much I wanted to eat them and actually did successfully do so. I had planned to put them in the fridge after a week but it wasn’t until 2 weeks had passed that I remembered.
3 weeks in (today!) we tasted them. They are deliciously tangy and salty and yet slightly sweet too. I certainly wouldn’t eat them straight out of the jar but I cannot wait to make some dishes with them!
Most recipes call for removing the pulp (which is the least appetizing part we tasted) and using the rind only.
I’m off to experiment with them but here’s some ideas to get you going if you already have some made!
How To Make Preserved Lemons
- 4-8 lemons Meyer are preferable
- 4-8 tablespoons salt
- Lemon Juice
- Cut lemons into quarters or score almost through in a X shape.
- Cover each lemon with a tablespoon of salt.
- Pack into a glass jar and smash down with a spoon or cocktail muddler.
- Cover with tight fitted lid or a cloth or papertowel secured tightly with a rubberband.
- Smash down every day for 3 days. If not completely immersed by day 3 then top up with lemon juice until submersed.
- Allow to sit on counter for 1-2 weeks then refrigerate for at least 1 week.
*Notes claim these will last in refrigerator for 6 months to a year. I have not tested this fact.