Preserved Lemons

Processing: N/A
Storage: Pantry  3-4 weeks then refrigerator 1-2 years
Yield: 4 cups per batch
Enjoy these salt preserved lemon skins with couscous (or quinoa) or add some zing to your favourite recipe using these lemons instead of fresh lemon.
6-8 lemons
¼ cup sea salt, pickling or kosher salt
Lemon juice (fresh or bottled), if required

Wash lemons.
Wash lemons well, soaking in warm water with a cap of vinegar to remove wax (if store bought).

Slice lemons.
Discard ends of lemons. Cut lemons almost into quarters, leaving base intact – or cut into halves, wedges or slices for packing into smaller jars. Press salt between lemon quarters (or layer lemons and salt into jars if using smaller pieces), approximately 1 tablespoon salt per lemon. Add salt into the base of the jar, then a layer of lemons, pressing down and packing lemons tightly, ensuring they are submerged in juice before sealing jars tightly.

Ferment lemons in a cool, dark and dry place (i.e. pantry) for several weeks.
Shake jar gently every few days until salt has dissolved. Check occasionally to ensure lemon is submerged under lemon juice – if not, add extra lemon juice to prevent mould growth. Lemons are finished fermenting when the skin is semi-opaque with a glossy, slippery appearance, approximately 3-4 weeks (this varies according to the temperature stored – shorter period if warm, longer period if cold).

Refrigerate preserved lemons.
To prevent further fermentation, refrigerate lemons and use as needed, discarding pith and rinsing if desired.

  • You will need approximately 2 ½ pounds (1kg) lemons per half-gallon (2L) jar;
  • Try making preserved limes – or a mixture of lemon and limes;
  • Speed up the fermentation stage by freezing lemons overnight after cutting, then thaw and continue with recipe – this softens the skins greatly;
  • Use a “pizza saver” aka pizza table to keep the lemon submerged under the juice;
  • Pack as much salt as possible into each lemon – this helps to draw out the juice from the lemon;
  • To use: remove preserved lemon from jar, discarding flesh and rinsing skin if desired to reduce saltiness.
  • Finely slice or dice as desired before serving.
  • Spices – try adding bay leaves, black peppercorns, cinnamon, coriander seed & fennel seed.

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