Salt-Preserved Meyer Lemons

Okay, friends.  Round two. As you know, Marisa McClellan from Food in Jars has set forth a Mastery Challenge, and we're in month two.  January was marmalade, and February offers up one of my favorite ways to preserve food: salt preserving. Come on, there is nothing simpler than salt preserving. Seriously, nothing.

Preserved lemons can be rather pricey.  This morning, the husband and I walked up to our favorite coffee place (Hi, Highwire!) and walked through Market Hall. A small pint of preserved lemons was $15. Yikes. 

Turns out I needed about three lemons per jar to equal a pound. 

But you can make your own, quite cheaply. All that's required to transform your lemons is salt and patience. I have an abundance of one, and it's not patience.

So here you go, simple and easy.  And if you want to get fancy, you can add some spices (as I do for one of my jars, per Marisa McClellan's suggestion). But that's not required. You keep your lemons unadorned. 

Now, here's the rub...we need to wait three weeks. Three weeks before we're puréeing lemons for salad dressing or adding them into a tagine or spooning them on roast lamb or chopping them into a harissa and preserved lemon relish or mashing them onto crostini with peas and asparagus. I have plans, friends, and we better get preserving if we want March to be filled with lemony goodness.


Salt-Preserved Meyer Lemons

Adapted from Marisa McClellan's Preserving by the Pint

1 24-ounce (pint and a half) jar

1 pound Meyer lemons, preferably organic
½ cup kosher salt
1 cinnamon stick
½ tsp black peppercorns
½ tsp whole cloves
½ tsp allspice berries

1. Wash the lemons well. Trim away the stem end and slice the lemons into 6 segments per piece of fruit.

2. Place the spices in a large, wide-mouth jar. Pour 1 Tbsp of kosher salt into the bottom of the jar and pack in the first 6 segments of lemon. Top with salt and then more lemon and continue to alternate until the jar is filled and you're out of lemons. Place a tight-fitting lid on the jar and give it a shake.

3.  Let the jar sit in a cool, dark place for 2-3 weeks. Shake the jar daily to help distribute the salt, spices, and liquid. The lemons will have started out quite dry, but as they age, they should release enough liquid so that the lemons are mostly submerged.  Open the lid every few days to release the fermentation pressure.

4.  Once the lemon skins look soft and the liquid has taken on a pleasantly funky, tangy taste, put the jar in the fridge. They will keep up to a year.

You can also skip all the spices and just make this with 1 pound of lemons and 1/2 cup of salt.  That's it. It's that simple.


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