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Preserved Lemons


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259 replies to this topic

#181 dockhl

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 11:26 AM

susieq~

boy, I don't know. I've never had a jar get gassy. That would worry me. I cure mine for 3 weeks+ on the counter and after opening , keep them in the fridge. I've never sterilized my jars first !

#182 The Old Foodie

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 12:55 PM

I've got a question.

I made a jar of preserved lemons last year and they were so good.  I wanted to take advantage of my trees and make bigger batches.  I sterilized two bigger fliptop/rubber gasket jars.  This time I cut the lemons in quarters, salted them down with kosher salt and topped them off with extra juice,  to one jar I also added corriander, pepper corns, bay, and cinnamon.....

...both jars are the gassiest things.  The jars are really burping and I'm seeing little bubbles.  Are they safe?

I'd sure appreciate some help.

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Anything as acid and salty as preserved lemons is not going to grow the sort of bacteria that make you sick. I think you just made salty lemon wine! Maybe you had too much extra lemon juice for the amount of salt?

I never sterilize the jars when I make these.
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#183 Adam Balic

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 04:48 PM

When making candied citrus peel, the first step is to put the fruit into a brine solution and then ferment them for about 40 days. This develops flavor in fruit such as citron.

With the amount of salt used, what ever microbes are growing are unlikely to kill you, but the flavor of these may be different to previous batches.

#184 Susie Q

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 08:26 PM

Thanks everyone for your help. I appreciate it.

I tried a turnip pickle from each jar yesterday. They were fine and boy were they tasty! Just like the ones I love to munch on at Grapevines; a Middle Eastern restaurant I love.

The lemons are still bubbling away on the counter. Maybe I should borrow one of my dad's fermentation air locks he uses for home brewing. :laugh: I'm curious as to how they turn out. I don't know how they would be in a tagine but splash or two of the brine might be good in a cocktail. :wink: I'll give them a test in another week or two.

Next time I won't sterilize the jars.

#185 viva

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 07:01 AM

I am making my first batch, and they are bubbly too. I followed the recipe from Slow Mediterranean Cooking, but the lemons didn't give off enough lemon juice to cover after a few days, so I am adding some more and giving it a bit more salt to compensate. Hopefully this works!

Edit: I should add that the bubbly isn't that bubbly - more like an effervesence.

Edited by viva, 20 September 2008 - 07:10 AM.

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#186 thunder

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 07:22 PM

[QUOTE]...both jars are the gassiest things. The jars are really burping and I'm seeing little bubbles. Are they safe?[QUOTE]

just homemade vinegar(first fermantation,then vinegar)
any old school pickle involves using salt to stop spoilage and control fermentation
you can do something similar with cucumbers or other veg
-- my sister uses eggplant and rice bran(nuka) in sealed in a crock
to make a delish japanese style pickle
b t[/COLOR][/B]

#187 viva

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 12:31 PM

Agreed - the technique is very similar to the one I use for quick brined cucumber pickles. I added a little more brine to cover my lemons - all appears to be well!
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#188 FlyingRat

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 09:31 PM

On the subject of preserved lemons, I just became aware of a great use for them the other day.

At Michael Laiskonis's Afternoon Tea at the the 2008 World Gourmet Fest here in Bangkok, one of the savories was a Smoked Salmon Croque-Monsieur. Cold-smoked salmon and Swiss cheese (I think) on thinly-sliced bread, toasted-- but what pushed it over the top were the finely chopped preserved lemons hiding inside! It was a really marvelous taste combination, and one I'm going to try at home.

#189 Special K

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 10:48 AM

So, I was at Chefshop.com on 15th Ave. in Seattle yesterday. Nice place. Friendly, knowledgeable staff, a cookbook collection to die for (unfortunately not for sale), and lots and lots of goodies (no price tags, though). Anyway, there was this little, little jar with two whole preserved lemons . . . the label listed only lemons, water (water?) and salt. I was intrigued.

Since I work right across the street from one of the world's (well, Seattle's) best produce shops, Jimmy Wild's Top Banana, and since the lemons there today were absolutely gorgeous, AND since my husband just tossed out (and I grabbed) a bunch of big old glass lab jars with nice tight lids . . .

My first thought was eGullet! So generous of Ms Wolfert to have contributed so much to this thread.

30 days from today! :wub:

And Ms Wolfert's book is on order. We may have a Morrocan themed Thanksgiving!

#190 Jesse A

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 02:50 PM

I just put up my first batch of preserved Meyers in quite some time - last batch was probably 2 years ago.

After three or four days, I noticed that pressure was building inside the jar, pushing the "clicker" button on the lid upwards. I unscrewed the lid slightly to release the pressure, and a brief fizz of small bubbles came to the surface.

They're on day 12 now, and they're continuing to gas up like that - every time I unscrew the lid to release the pressure, the gas builds up again within 4 days or so.

Did I screw up? Are my lemons okay, or should I toss them and start again? I think they smell okay... although as I said, it's been quite a while, so I don't remember exactly how they should smell.

#191 Jmahl

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 10:19 AM

I just put up my first batch of preserved Meyers in quite some time - last batch was probably 2 years ago.

After three or four days, I noticed that pressure was building inside the jar, pushing the "clicker" button on the lid upwards.  I unscrewed the lid slightly to release the pressure, and a brief fizz of small bubbles came to the surface.

They're on day 12 now, and they're continuing to gas up like that - every time I unscrew the lid to release the pressure, the gas builds up again within 4 days or so.

Did I screw up?  Are my lemons okay, or should I toss them and start again?  I think they smell okay... although as I said, it's been quite a while, so I don't remember exactly how they should smell.

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Jesse:

You may have a problem - I have never see this - I suspect that you have fermentation going on. This should not happen with enough salt and lemon juice (acid). Try adding more salt and acid.

Perhaps someone with more experience can see this and help you out with a more technical answer.

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#192 melamed

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 04:44 AM

On the subject of preserved lemons, I just became aware of a great use for them the other day. 

At Michael Laiskonis's Afternoon Tea at the the 2008 World Gourmet Fest here in Bangkok, one of the savories was a Smoked Salmon Croque-Monsieur.  Cold-smoked salmon and Swiss cheese (I think) on thinly-sliced bread, toasted-- but what pushed it over the top were the finely chopped preserved lemons hiding inside!  It was a really marvelous taste combination, and one I'm going to try at home.

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I usually use limequats but regular lemons are fine . I cut an X on each one, put them in a clean jar and cover with about 10% brine and lemon juice (about 1:1). I also add a tablespoon of harrissa for taste and cover the top with olive oil so it doesn't spoil. I use it to accompany Morroccan food and cook with it as well. I rinse them off and eat the entire lemon, including the rind.

#193 Chris Amirault

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 08:02 PM

Really good lemons today, and I was out, so I put up more preserved lemons. Ended up using them in just about everything, frankly.
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#194 melamed

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 12:43 PM

last time I made preserved lemons and some floated on top I just covered them with olive oil to keep them from spoiling.

#195 technogypsy

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 03:07 PM

Suvir,

As for the kettle one martini,I just make a normal (very dry)martini and add a couple of slices of the cured rind.Love it.


This sounds like something to try. I make preserved lemons for tagines but always end up with some aging in the back of the frig...
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#196 Pilori

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 07:32 PM

I've been looking around at preserved lemon recipes and I can't seem to find a consensus on whether they are shelf stable, or if they require a boiling water bath to be shelf stable. A lot of recipes I see say to leave them on the counter for 3 weeks or so and then put them in the fridge. Others say store for a month on the counter and then they are ready to eat and shelf stable until open. I also haven't seen any mention of a boiling water bath (though I assume this is because preserved lemons are so acidic).

Anyone have any more information on this?

#197 andiesenji

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 12:28 PM

I keep them out on the counter for the 30 days, or so that it takes for the pickling to mature and then refrigerate them.

However, I have made large batches in my pickling crock (has weights to keep whatever is pickling under the liquid) and then transferred the lemons and brine to sterilized jars which are subsequently canned using the regular water-bath method of canning.

I did top each jar up with fresh lemon juice and stuck a couple of fresh bay leaves in with the lemons to pretty it up a bit.

I gave these as gifts but had a couple of jars left which were still good when I opened them more than a year after canning.

I also recently came across this site which has a recipe for preserved kumquats, same method.

http://www.vanillagarlic.com/

You have to scroll half-way down the page.

Edited by andiesenji, 25 February 2010 - 12:34 PM.

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#198 Pilori

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 02:26 PM

After the 30 day sit in the jars can the lemons stay on the shelf until opening?

#199 egale

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 02:43 PM

I usually leave mine at room temp for about 45 days or so. I shake the jar once a day. Then I pour in enough olive oil to cover and refrigerate the jar. I've kept jars for two years like that and they're fine. I do sterilize the jars in boiling water before I put them up, but I'm not sure that's really necessary. Better safe than sorry though.

I think Paula Wolfert says they are self stable without refrigeration for a year in her Couscous book, but says to add olive oil and refrigerate after 30 days in her Slow Med Cooking book. I refrigerate. Again, better safe than sorry.

I always get some bubbles at the beginning and I think it's just a natural part of the process. And the brine gets really thick in my jars too. When I've used up the lemons in a jar I just throw it out. Usually by that time the metal lid and ring are crummy from the salt and lemon juice. I guess you could wash the jar and reuse it though if you wanted.

Most of the recipes say to throw away the pulp and only use the rind. I've always wondered why though. The pulp seems fine to me and I think Paula Wolfert says she uses the pulp too.

Anyone have an opinion or information on using the pulp?

#200 andiesenji

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 03:26 PM

egale, you can get the "refrigerator/freezer lids" for Kerr/Ball canning jars, both regular and wide-mouth. They are plastic and ideal for brine, vinegar, etc. No metal to be affected or affect the contents.

Plastic jar lids

Edited by andiesenji, 05 March 2010 - 03:26 PM.

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#201 egale

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 06:29 PM

I never even knew those existed! Thank you Andiesenji!

#202 davidkeay

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 08:36 AM

I finally got around to making these yesterday...I've got 3 24 oz jars sitting on my counter now!

I've seen people say I should keep them in a warm place for the month, but haven't heard whether or not light is OK. Should I hide them in the cabinet above the stove, or would somewhere near a window be OK?

#203 Chris Amirault

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 08:41 AM

I'm wary of light, but not sure why exactly. I've always done them in paper bags, myself.
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#204 davidkeay

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 08:51 AM

My natural inclination was to keep them in the dark. A paper bag sounds like a great way to do it... I think if I started only shaking my lemons in the dark, my roommates would (appropriately?) start to think I was crazy.

Unless I hear some strong opinions either way, I'll keep one jar in a bag and one jar out and report back in a month!

Edited by davidkeay, 19 April 2010 - 09:38 AM.


#205 egale

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 11:51 AM

On a slightly different topic, I've found that the type of salt used determines how thick the brine eventually gets. I had preserved some lemons with table-grind sea salt and the brine got very thick indeed. I made another batch using coarse sea salt and the brine still got thick, but not nearly as thick as the batch made with table-grind salt.

I wonder why this is?

#206 Lapin d'Argent

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 04:54 PM

I now find myself putting preserved lemons in just about everything. Certainly any steamed or boiled vegetables. Fish. Most pasta dishes that aren't tomato based. Risotto. Anything with olives or artichokes or flavors of that sort. Rice. Couscous. Beans. Omelets. Sometimes my glass of white wine gets a sliver. Certainly my gin and tonic does.

We don't really cook much meat, but if I made chicken, most of those dishes would get some.

Also a good pizza topping, with goat cheese, carmelized onions, braised mushrooms, and rosemary, for example.

Basically anything vaguely Mediterranean.

#207 Chris Amirault

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 05:23 PM

Certainly my gin and tonic does.


Have you ever tried using the lemon brine? I've been wondering about a dash in a gin Martini with old-skool Noilly Prat....
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#208 davidkeay

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 06:18 PM

I've been using them in place of lime in guacamole lately, which has been a great way to introduce people to them with practically no prep time!

#209 andiesenji

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 06:45 PM

I now find myself putting preserved lemons in just about everything. Certainly any steamed or boiled vegetables. Fish. Most pasta dishes that aren't tomato based. Risotto. Anything with olives or artichokes or flavors of that sort. Rice. Couscous. Beans. Omelets. Sometimes my glass of white wine gets a sliver. Certainly my gin and tonic does.

We don't really cook much meat, but if I made chicken, most of those dishes would get some.

Also a good pizza topping, with goat cheese, carmelized onions, braised mushrooms, and rosemary, for example.

Basically anything vaguely Mediterranean.


I cut the segments, stripped of the pulp, into slivers and add to antipasti plates. Excellent rolled in a slice of prosciutto.
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#210 nickrey

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 08:30 PM

On a slightly different topic, I've found that the type of salt used determines how thick the brine eventually gets. I had preserved some lemons with table-grind sea salt and the brine got very thick indeed. I made another batch using coarse sea salt and the brine still got thick, but not nearly as thick as the batch made with table-grind salt.

I wonder why this is?

If you measured by volume this would explain it.

Because of gaps left between the granules of coarsely ground salt, it will contain less weight of salt than the same sized container of finely ground salt. Less weight = less dense brine.

Another very good reason for moving to weighing with scales rather than measuring with cups.

Edited by nickrey, 19 April 2010 - 08:32 PM.

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