Saturday, September 24, 2016
Eight lemons, cut six of them into quarters. Reserve the other lemons for juice.
Toss the lemon quarters with salt. I used about 2 tablespoons of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt for each lemon I quartered. You want enough salt so that the lemon quarters are all uniformly coated in salt.
Pack the salted lemon quarters into a spotlessly clean jar. Ideally, use a jar that will just hold the lemon wedges. Let the jar sit, covered, at room temperature for about an hour so that the salt can draw some of the juice from the lemons.
After some juice is released, pack the lemons into the jar by pressing. You can use a spoon. The jar should fill half-way or more with lemon juice.
Juice the lemons you reserved, and add the extra juice to the jar. This should bring the level of the juice near the top of the jar.
Seal the jar and let sit at cool room temperature for four to seven days, giving it a good shake every day. After four days, the lemon rind should begin to take on a glossy translucency. When the rind looks translucent all the way through, or after one week (whichever comes first) transfer the salt-cured lemons to the refrigerator. Let cure for another week in the fridge.
After a week in the fridge, the lemons can be used, but they will continue to mellow and the flavor will improve with longer aging. They will keep in the refrigerator for months and months.
To Use [some comments]
I love the salty lemony brine that comes along with these lemons so much, I add it to soups and salad dressings instead of using salt.
You can use the pulp as well as rind.
And the liquid that the process created ended up a very great house made sweet and sour mix that I now use in a lot of mixed drinks. Sweet and sour with tonic makes a great mocktail!
I've done limes twice: first time with the green ones you see at the store, and the second time with properly ripe lime, which actually end up a pale yellow when they are fully ripe. They both tasted good, but the green ones were definitely less attractive.
I saw a recipe that actually had them diced before the salt curing, and I might try that with a small jar this year and see how it goes. It would be super easy to stick a spoon in the jar and just get a scoopful.
Chop and mix into a creamy lemon dressing for a spinach salad with pomegranate seeds and almonds, chop and use to coat cauliflower before high-heat roasting, mix with tahini to make a sesame-lemon spread for veggie flatbread wraps, season soups of all kinds with them, chop and mix with bread crumbs and parsley and garlic, roasted potatoes with preserved lemons. Cut small or fingerling potatoes in half and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary. Roast at 450 for about 30 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. When done, toss with very thinly sliced pieces of the preserved lemon peel. Tasty and wonderful ingredient in bloody mary tomato cocktails
At no time have I ever refrigerated them. I am assuming that this method was developed in north Africa or the middle east in order to preserve lemons before refrigeration existed, Mine also last more than 6 months. One jar that got pushed to the back of a dark cupboard (in the coolest room in the house) was 3 years old when I found it and the fruit was still perfect.
You can top it off with water. It's also a good idea to check the liquid levels every so often and replenish with water as needed to cover the lemons. It helps deter mold that develops when the lemons are exposed to air.
Don't forget as you are preserving the lemons to drop a few wedges into your vodka for some yummy infusion.