I’ve already mentioned that I’m doing the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge this year, and this month is focused on salt preserving. I have a couple of projects on the go and one of them is salt preserved lemons.
I can’t say that before this challenge I’d ever heard of salt preserved lemons before but apparently they are quite big in Moroccan cuisine.
I used this recipe from Serious Eats and it was very easy to make. I used organic regular lemons and they were super juicy. I didn’t need to top up the lemons in the jar with any additional liquid as I’ve read is sometimes common to need to do. The recipe says that it takes 15 minutes to make these lemons and that is pretty much accurate. The worst part was the “ouch” that the salt and lemons gave to my hand that is healing from eczema right now, but under normal circumstances pressing the salty lemons into the jar wouldn’t have been a big deal. It was actually kind of fun to squish them all in there and see how many I could get in. I think in the end I was able to press 6 1/2 lemons in this 1 quart jar.
I will say that the mention in the directions that “the next day, lemons will have released a lot of liquid” wasn’t quite true in my case, so maybe my tossing the night before wasn’t really as vigorous as it should have been, but it didn’t seem to matter. When pressed into the jar they released a lot of liquid, it was just fine. There was enough to cover the lemons, which is necessary to do.
Also contrary to the recipe, I let the jar sit out on the counter for a week before I put them in the fridge. I’ve been reading posts in the Food in Jars Facebook community and other recipes seemed to include this “out of fridge” curing step, so that’s what I did. Apparently the more you leave them out of the fridge the more they have a bit of a funky flavour to them. I did have to shake them up a bit a few times over the week to distribute the salt so it didn’t all settle in the bottom of the jar.
It’s probably time to taste them and see what they’re like – I’ll report back when I have used them in a new-found recipe!