Forgive me. I’m going to do that thing people love when they are searching for a recipe and start off with a personal tale about my love of Meyer Lemons. You’ll survives it, though.
Early February 2020, my sister and I planned a trip to New Orleans. Little did we know that we were just a few days shy of a massive covid outbreak and a month away from total lockdown. The trip is probably my favorite memory of 2020, for obvious reason. After a night out on the town, we resigned ourselves to the fact that there are just certain things you cant do when you’re a bit older (like drink and dance until the sun comes up) without consequence. The following day was spent wandering around the beautiful homes that punctuate the town’s Garden District. Suppose you haven’t had the chance; it’s worth a post-covid visit. While walking along with the old magnolia trees and decorative rod-iron fences, we came across a crate overflowing with beautiful Meyer Lemons, a sign that said free, and a little bundle of bags for filling. I want to say we acted respectfully, only taking a modest amount while leaving some for others, but we didn’t. Sorry. Although we didn’t empty the entire crate, we did walk away with a beautiful clutch of bright lemons. When I got home, I used them up as best I could, but still, I had a nice batch left and decided to do myself a favor and preserve the remaining lemons before they went to waste.
Admittedly, this recipe takes time, Like 3-6 months. While most of that time is spent sitting on a shelf, the results are well worth the wait. Preserved lemons are a fun ingredient you didn’t know you needed. The can be used in salads, dressings, pasta, stews, salsa, and dips. You can even sneak them into cocktails- Think Bloody Marys, Gin and Tonics, and even a martini, if you’re feeling daring.
I prefer to use jars with a silicone ring seal for this recipe, rather than the metal lids, like the ones you’ll find on Ball Jars. The acid from the lemons and the salt isn’t kind to the metal. There isn’t a jar size specified; use what fits your lemons best. It’s a very flexible recipe.
- Jar with rubber airtight seal with a mouth large enough to put your hand in
- 6 Meyer lemons
- 1 cup lemon juice about 4 lemons
- 2 cups coarse Kosher salt
- Bay leaves *optional
- fennel seeds *optional
- peppercorns *optional
- cinnamon sticks *optional
- Olive Oil
- Cleaned the glass Jar thoroughly with soap and warm water.
- Wash the lemons under warm water, making sure the skin is clean and free of any large knicks or cuts.
- Over a plate or large bowl, cut the lemons, stem side down, without going all the way through. Cutting twice, making an X, and leaving the lemon about an inch before fully cut through.
- Rub salt inside the lemons cuts, filling it as much as you can.
- Press the lemon cut side down into the jar, releasing the juices.
- Add salt on top of the pressed lemon and repeat.
- Pour in additional lemon juice, and add spices of your choosing, making sure to leave about an inch and a half of space from the lemons and the lid. Close the lid and store in a cool, dry place.
- 1 to 2 times a day, turn the jar to redistribute the salt. Continue this for 5 days. Make sure the lemons stay submerged in the lemon juice.
- Once the five days have passed, cover the lemons with olive oil, making sure the lemons are fully covered in lemon juice (add more if needed) and that the oil is completely covering the lemon juice.
- Store the jar in a cool, dark place. In three months, the preserved lemons will be ready to be used. The lemons can be stored for up to 12 months.