Salt-Preserved Lemons

Here in western Canada, Meyer lemons weren’t easy to come by until fairly recently.Ever since I had my first taste of one a couple of years ago, I’ve been hooked – and I look forward to the “citrus season” so I can buy up as many bags as I can.This, of course, means I’m practically overdosing on them by the middle of February…I’ve frozen them, cooked with them, made lemon jelly,baked every kind of lemon treat you can imagine, and juiced them into lemonade and green tea (in the dead of winter, there’s something about a fresh glass of sunshine – it’s even better than during the summer!).Still, I keep buying them as long as I can…and time is running out now.Very soon I won’t be able to get them again until November.

Fortunately, besides freezing (which I will post about soon), there is another way to preserve lemons for the long term – by using salt.The recipe is simple, although the preserves themselves require a bit of subsequent babysitting.I’m planning to use my lemons alongside baked fish and in spinach and mixed green salads.

Salt-Preserved Lemons

3 small organic Meyer lemons, washed, stem ends trimmed, sliced into thin wedges 

¼ to ½ cup coarse salt (use Kosher if you have it)

Line the bottom of a clean 1 pint glass canning jar with 3 tablespoons of salt.Snugly pack in a layer of lemon slices, then add another 3 tablespoons of salt.Keep adding layers of lemon slices and salt until you have reached the top of the jar.The top layer should be of salt.Tightly close the lid of the jar and place it in a cool, dark place (mine is in a closet).It is a good idea to make a note of the date you started your preserves as well as a reminder of the projected end date (3 weeks later) and tape it onto the outside of the jar.Once a day, you must shake the jar to combine the salt and lemon slices.

Twice a week, ensure you open the lid of the jar for a few minutes to let the contents “breathe.”After 3 weeks have passed, the jar must go into the fridge, where it will keep until the next citrus season!(You’ll eat them long before that, I’m sure!).Before serving the lemons, remember to rinse them in water to get rid of excess salt, and remove the seeds if you haven’t already done so. 

What is your favourite way to use up lemons?

(Recipe adapted from http://www.simplebites.net/spiced-preserved-lemons/)

Published on Feb 18, 2013

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