Monday, February 28, 2011

Making Pickled Lemons

Lemons I got from Master Ken's class

I got a bunch of lemons from a friend in Master Ken's class a few weeks ago since my lemons aren't quite ready. I wanted to make some pickled lemons because it's a good way to preserve lemons for later use whether in cooking or just eat them straight. In addition to loving anything spicy, I also love anything sour. My love for sourness is probably what's saved me from gaining much weight in the last 20 years even though I usually eat like a horse.

I started out with 6 lemons. Myers lemons are desired by most, but I don't have those. I got a bunch of combination lemons, some with thick rind. It doesn't matter what kind you use really. I scrubbed the lemons and washed them clean, cut off both pointed ends, and cut each of them in half lengthwise, starting from the tip but not cut all the way. The lemon are attached at the base. I made another cut in a similar manner, so now the lemon was quartered, but again, attached at the base.

I got 1/2 cup of kosher salt, and put some of it in the bottom of the clean glass jar. You could sterilize the jar by boiling it in water. I didn't do that. I figured with all the salt and acid from the lemons, no bacteria can survive in the jar. If you wanted to be extra careful, feel free to sterilize the jar first.

Additional lemons I got from neighbor's garden

I rubbed the salt into each lemon between the cuts then stuffed them into the jar. After the jar was filled up with lemons, I dumped the rest of the salt into the jar. Now I realized that there's empty space in the jar between the lemons. Ideally, there should be no empty space. You could pack in more lemon and/or fill it with fresh lemon juice. I needed more lemons, so I ran over to my neighbor's to pick a bunch more. I cut the additional lemons in halves to squeeze out the juice into the jar.

The jar is filled half way with fresh lemon juice. I left a lot of lemon pulps in there. I like pulps in my juice, but if you don't like them, you can strain the juice first to remove the pulps. I expect more liquid will come out of the lemons as the salt works its way. I am leaving the jar in a shady cool spot for a couple days to observe. I may add more lemon juice as needed if the jar isn't filled with liquid in two days. After that I will store the jar in the fridge. When the lemon rinds become soft, they are ready. It takes about 3 weeks. Before using the lemons, the salt needs to be rinsed off; otherwise, they would be too salty.

You can also add spices to the lemons for preserving - cloves, coriander seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, bay leaf.

Lots of lemon pulps are on the top of the jar

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