Preserving lemons in salt is an ancient practice with delicious results. I am crazed for these, eating them sliced and diced on simple vegetable meals, even rice and beans. Slivers of both the salted fruit flesh and soft rind are SO good added to dressings, stirred into soups, topping lamb shanks, my curried lamb and potato pie, and used in my kale & onion alternative to spanikopita. It takes three weeks for the lemons to cure, so get started now.
Makes 1 pint
- 12 small organic Meyer lemons (four to cut into quarters and preserve; four you will squeeze the juice out of and use on the first day; and the last four you will squeeze and use after three days)
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 1 dried red chile
- 8 to 10 whole black peppercorns
- Olive oil
- Gently wash eight of the lemons. Pat them dry with a towel. Cut four of the lemons into quarters (or eighths, if you like). Juice the other four lemons, throw the skins away, and set juice aside.
- Toss the cut lemons with kosher salt. Pack them into a sterilized pint jar, sprinkling the bay leaves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and chili pepper between layers.
- Pour the lemon juice over the salted lemons and spices. (It should fill about halfway–Don’t worry: After three days you’ll add more lemon juice.)
- Cap the jar. Shake it up . Set aside in a warm place.
- Shake the jar once a day for three days.
- Wash the remaining four lemons. Juice them. Pour this juice into the pint jar to completely fill any airspace left in the jar. Top with a little bit of olive oil. Close the jar.
- Place the lemons in a dark, cool spot and allow to cure for at least three weeks, or up to a month before using.