The middle eastern store in which I shop has a big "pickle jar" (about 3 gallons) in which they have preserved lemons. The ones on the top, ready for use are in a plastic basket which occupies the top half of the container.
They lift it out and add new lemons and more salt to the bottom and the basket is replaced which pushes the new lemons to the bottom.
I think this is a very clever method of keeping a large batch (they sell a lot) of preserved lemons going. The lady told me that they dump the brine and replenish the salt with a new batch of lemons in the bottom about every six months. The preserved lemons look perfect on the outside, the insides look the same as the ones I have made at home and I have bought some and used them.
They taste exactly the same.
She tells me they have only refrigerated the batch when they close the store for their annual vacation when they put everything even remotely perishable in their walk-in fridge, even the stuff in the display fridges, because they have a backup generator for the walk-in in case of a power failure.
She says that people "back home" don't usually have fridges and the stores that sell stuff like this have limited fridge space so "preserving" means not having to refrigerate usually perishable items for use all year.
She mentioned that "back home" they preserve the grape leaves essentially the same way and they are never refrigerated.
Edited by andiesenji, 25 August 2012 - 11:15 AM.