In September 2014, I enrolled myself in culinary school where the focus was an emphasis on holistic nutrition. It changed my perspective on food and cooking. I realized that so much of what I learned about the importance of preserving food, my mom had already been doing for years. Food preservation was something she learned from her own mom, grandmother and great grandmother. Completing the program brought me closer to her in a way that was unexpected because I was finally ready and interested to learn her recipes. She is now sharing so many wonderful stories about her childhood and food.
Yesterday on a unusually warm California morning, my mom and I stood on our deck and did what those before us have done for years. And if you call this tradition, then I am grateful for it. Even if it is just the simple act of semi-quartering lemons and stuffing them into mason jars with oodles of salt. Happy preserving everyone!
Preserved Meyer Lemons
Top 8 Free
You will need 1/2 gallon jar or two quart jars. I start out with a large jar and divide into smaller jars after thirty days.
- 10-14 ripe organic lemons
- 1 cup fine sea salt, plus a little extra.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups lemon juice, fresh or more or less, as needed
Prepare jars. Sterilize jars in dishwasher or pour hot water into jars. Once ready, tip water out of pot, let cool, air dry and pack lemons.
Rinse and scrub lemons. Dry well. Remove tip from each lemon. Cut lemon horizontally, leaving end intact. Cut it again vertically, at a 90 degree angle to the first cut. The lemons will be quartered but still attached at one end.
Measure salt into a medium bowl. Sprinkle salt on the exposed flesh, about 1 tablespoon per lemon, then reshape fruit. Push the lemons gently into the bottom of the jar, making a layer of lemons until all of the lemons are packed in jar. They will release juice.
With a wooden spoon, gently push down on lemons. Squeeze juice from remaining lemons and pour into jar. Lemons should be covered with liquid. Squeeze additional juice from lemons if needed. Close jar tightly with a sterilized lid.
Let lemons ferment at room temperature, away from sun or light. Shake jars each day to redistribute salt and juice. I call this giving your lemons a little love each day. Within a few days, you will notice the salt draws out enough juice to completely cover the lemons. If not, add more lemons. The lemons should be covered in juice; it is ok if some of the lemons on the top peek out.
In one month, transfer lemons to smaller jars ( for gifts) and refrigerate. Add a little olive oil to cover (optional) and refrigerate for up to 1 year.
Rinse skin, discard pulp and slice thin or finely dice in salads.
Preserved lemons are great in salads, in the skin of roasted chickens and in stews. They make great DIY gifts also!
- If you would like to make a smaller jar of preserved lemons, simply divide ingredients in half