- 1-quart jar with a lid
- 2 lbs. ORGANIC lemons (Meyer lemons are best – but regular lemons work also) (you will be eating the rinds)
- ¼ – ½ cup unrefined sea salt or kosher salt
- Wash the lemons (yes, they are organic, but have been touched by many people).
- Trim off the ends (don’t cut into the flesh).
- Slice the lemons as if to quarter them, but DON’T cut all the way through. If you have large lemons you can cut them into 6 segments (star shaped). You just want them to open up- keep the base intact.
- Put 1 Tablespoon of salt in the bottom of the jar.
- Put 1 Tablespoon of salt in the center of the lemon, turn it, skin side up, into the bottom of the jar and tamp with a wooden spoon or the flat end of a large wooden knife to soften the lemon and release some of the juice.
- Top that lemon with another tablespoon of salt and continue with the rest of the lemons (doing the exact same thing you did in the step above) until the jar is tightly packed and almost full.
- Place one last tablespoon of salt on top of all the lemons.
- At this point, you might need to juice a couple lemons. The brine should completely cover the lemons.If the brine doesn’t cover them they will develop mold. You can always discard that moldy lemon, but it is much easier to just make sure they are always covered with liquid.
- Cover with the lid and let ferment for 4-6 weeks in a cool, dark place.
- Gently shake the jar each day for the first week. When the lemons are ready to use they will look more translucent than when you started and the rinds will be very soft.
- Technically you can keep them for a year – I like to put them in the fridge once I open the jar and start using them.
- When you want to use a preserved lemon, rinse off the salt and pull off the pulp. Slice or mince the lemon peel. Yes, you are using the peel. I have known people to use the entire thing (after rinsing off the salt) for a more intense lemon flavor.
Even though this is one of my very favorite seasonings to add to all sorts of recipes and I use it almost every day, I haven’ t mentioned it before because I hadn’t given you the directions to make your own preserved lemons.
It is a fantastic way to add interest and flavor to a multitude of dishes. (fish, potatoes, chicken, pasta, vegetables, desserts, etc.).
The options are limitless. Be creative!