lemon preserves

Lemon Preserve


Yield: 1 quart                                                                                                                                                     Fermentation vessel: 2 quarts or 1 quart Mason jars with an airlock and ceramic weight or a fermentation crock

8 whole lemons, regular or Meyer                                                                                                                                 ½-1 cup unrefined sea salt, plus 2 tbsp.                                                                                                                   freshly squeezed lemon juice, as needed

Rinse the lemons in cold water. Slice the nubs off the ends of each lemon, then slice the lemon lengthwise as if to quarter it, but leave one end intact. Let the lemon open in the palms of your hand like a flower and sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon of salt into its center. Remove the seeds and put the fruit in a large bowl. Rub generous amounts of salt in and around each lemon.

Take a wooden spoon or masher and press the lemons down in a jar or crock and pack them tightly, then continue slicing, salting, layering, and packing lemons until no more remain.  Make sure that they are completely submerged in their brine, weighing them down with a ceramic weight or sterilized stone if necessary.  To fill to the brim and ensure immersion, add freshly squeezed lemon juice as needed. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of salt over the surface.

Close your fermentation with either crock lid, an airlock, or a mason jar metal or plastic lid. Set aside out of direct sunlight and cool for about a month. Check periodically to make sure the lemons stay submerged.

The lemons will be ready after 21 days but can go longer if you like. Properly preserved lemons taste salty and softly sour without the abrupt tartness of fresh lemons, with no residual bitterness in the rind. If the rind is still bitter, reseal the crock and continue fermenting them for another week or two before tasting them again. When fermented to your liking, transfer the lemons to the fridge. They’ll keep for two years.

Unique Add-on's:                                                                                                                                                   Cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, whole cloves, coriander seeds, juniper seeds, and bay leaves. For a South American flavor add garlic, onions, coriander, cilantro and plenty of hot pepper


Where to get fermentation supplies: Preserved Goods, Oakland Ca
 Adapted loosely by Jennifer Gruther in the Nourished Kitchen