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Cookbook author Paula Wolfert on preserved lemons: Fresh lemons are never an adequate substitute in recipes that call for the preserved variety, though preserved lemons are a great - perhaps even better -substitute for fresh lemons/ lemon juice.


10 lbs Meyer lemons or Lisbon lemons

5-6 tbsp sea salt

optional spices: bay leaves, black peppercorns, star anise,

cinnamon, coriander, fennel, cumin, chiles, ginger

(makes one gallon)

Rinse and scrub the lemons well so as to remove any potential residue. Slice the lemon as though you are going to quarter it, but leave all quarters connected on one end. Sprinkle one hearty pinch of salt on the interior of the lemon, and place/press it in your jar. When you’ve made a layer of lemons, sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over the top of the layer. Use a wooden spoon or tamper and pound down the lemons until they release their juice. Continue to repeat layers until jar is full. Press down so that the liquid completely covers the lemons, adding more lemon juice or water if necessary to cover. Use a ceramic weight or other creative weight to keep the lemons submerged. Cover with a regular lid or use an airlock lid and let ferment at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for 3-4 weeks. Transfer to the refrigerator where the lemons will keep for years!

Use both the lemon rind, the pith and the juice in tagines, dressings, marinades, and relishes. Also the juice makes a great tonic mixed with sparkling water.


Try other low sugar citrus fruits like Bears limes, yuzu, sour grapefruits or kumquats.

Whole lemon quartered with coarse sea salt stuffed inside. Jar of lemons, salt, knife and pounder in the background

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