Salt Preserved Lemons

In Cooking, Uncategorized on February 2, 2011 at 8:28 pm

I have wanted to try this for awhile.  I love lemons! As a child we used to peel them and eat them with salt.  So as you can imagine preserving them in salt seemed like a natural progression.  Plus, recently I have discovered several recipes calling for these jewels and well I have never seen them for sale at the market – gotta get them somewhere.

Salt Preserved Lemons

5-7 Lemons, Large (preferably organic)
1 lb of sea salt (what it’s a big jar?!) * See One Week Update below
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
3 cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
2-3 Large Sprigs of Thyme
2 small cinnamon sticks
2 small bay leafs
2 small dried chilies

Please note: all the seasonings, minus the salt, are optional.  After reading tons of recipes I discovered the Moroccan style is to preserve with herbs and seasoning to intensify flavor – yeah okay sign me up for that!  I added things I love, please feel free to add or omit and make it your own!

Directions: Sterilize your airtight container; place a couple Tbsps of salt at the bottom of the container.  Combine first four spices and grind in a mortar & pestle, spice grinder, beat with a mallet – anything to crush up the seeds so they will release more flavor.  Stir into a cup of sea salt.  Wash lemons thoroughly; dry and quarter 1/3 to 1/2 way through the lemon.  Stuff the cut of the lemons with the salt and a section of your thyme sprigs; close and squeeze into the jar.  As you assemble and fill the jar add salt to fill the space and place your remaining larger spices (cinnamon; bay leaf and chilies).  Make sure the lemons are covered and there is still air space at the top before sealing.

Now the waiting game; but, the work isn’t over! Place this beautiful jar in a warm place and shake eat day to distribute the salt and the juice.  Let ripen for 30 days before consumption.  Once ready to use rinse the lemons, as needed.  No need to refrigerate upon opening and lemons should keep up to a year.

I intend to take pictures – oh say weekly and then in a month I will use them in a recipe.   That of course will be the great unveiling of my months hard work of shaking! P.S. I have no idea if these lemons will be any good, but my hands smell great! :p

One Week UPDATE:

Okay let me start by admitting that I was way over zealous with the salt… what?? I love salt.  Salt is delicious.  The salt and I go way back… anyways, moving forward.  Adding too much salt for the first phase was a surprise blessing, which I discovered in my transplant project.

I removed the lemons, and whole seasoning to a bowl, placed a strainer over the bowl and dumped the contents – so the juice rendered could also be transplanted.  In addition, I decided to add four small lemons I had in my pantry, since the large lemons had slumped and revealed more room in the jar.  I prepared the new small lemons in the same fashion as above, arranged all the lemons in the jar; added the juice; and filled the jar about 7/8 with water.  This leaves room for the new lemons to render their juice.  Continue to shake daily; t-minus 3 weeks to the testing day! 

Blessing: Upon extracting the salt I tasted it! Oh my…. OH MY this salt is insanely flavorful.  So waste not – want not.  I am drying the salt and blamo! I will have amazing salt rub for barbecue, steaks, potatoes… something good is going to come of this I can feel it!!

  1. This is strange friend!! Never heard of anything like it!

  2. Beautiful!!! I’m glad the jar worked. Can’t wait for you let us know how they turn out. Great job.

  3. It’s over half-way filled with lemon juice now. Kinda cool to watch… like a bizarre kitchen lab test! lol

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