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Suvir Saran

Preserved Lemons

290 posts in this topic

Add my name to the list of preserved lemon converts.  :wub: I have a jar of mixed Myers & Eurekas in my fridge ( They are about 45 days old) and use them in my tuna salad, in my pesto and in a little quickie veggie dip of yogurt (Greek-style) curry powder, black olives minced and preserved lemon diced finely.

MY question is this: How do I properly maintain my lemons? Do I add one for each one taken out? Do I add more lemon juice and salt? Just more lemon juice? I would like to keep a supply on hand at all times as they really are versatile..

Here's a new question.

I've made several batches of lemons, wonderful, delicious.

The lemon juice/salt brine gets really thick over time. Since they came out fine I am assuming that's OK but I've never read anything from anyone else about this happening.

Any input?  :huh:

Kathy (who loves to eat them straight from the jar, in small quanitites  :wacko: )

How convenient that your posts are in sequence!

Kathy, I get exactly the same results: the brine gets really thick with time. I figure it's just a natural effect of the brining process, and that juices continue to concentrate with a certain amount of evaporation out of my jar, just due to opening and removing lemons and closing it. No, I've never noticed a problem. I can't imagine why there would be a problem, from a health standpoint. The salt is getting more concentrated.

shelly59, because of the issue above, I don't try to replenish my batches. I think I've read of ways to do that, but my brine always concentrates down to a syrup long before the lemons are gone. I just start a new batch when I'm getting down to the bottom of the old batch. You can see how fast you're going through the stuff, so you should be able to figure how far in advance to start your fresh batch.

It's great to see new interest in this topic!


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Kathy, I get exactly the same results:  the brine gets really thick with time.  I figure it's just a natural effect of the brining process, and that juices continue to concentrate with a certain amount of evaporation out of my jar, just due to opening and removing lemons and closing it.  No, I've never noticed a problem.  I can't imagine why there would be a problem, from a health standpoint.  The salt is getting more concentrated.

Whew! I feel better now :laugh:

I replenish mine by pulling out the old (preserved) and washing the jar, putting new lemons, salt juice in the bottom and topping with the old again. Top off with more juice. Always have some ready and available :smile:

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My batch (quartered, salted, extra lemon juice to cover) has spent six weeks curing so I'm going to try them out tonight with a Claudia Roden chicken dish (djaj mqualli) from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. What other uses have you found for them?


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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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?

Off topic but also seeing the same thing... I also made some pickled turnips. Two jars. One with just salt, water, and beet root. The other I added vinegar to the solution to also try the variation. They are off gassing too. Are these safe?

I also sterilized these jars before using them. The recipe didn't call for boiling the pickling solution nor putting them in a hot water bath. It said to just leave them on the counter for a couple of weeks then store in the icebox.

I burped all the jars a few times as I didn't want them to possibly explode. I've had a jar of sourdough starter do that.

I'd sure appreciate some help.

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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 !

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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.

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.


Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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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.

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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.

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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 (log)

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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

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

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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!


...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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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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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!

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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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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.

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.

Jmahl


The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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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.

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.


Cheers, Sarah

http://sarahmelamed.com/

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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...


"Drop it in a bucket. If it stays, grill it. If it climbs out, deep fry it" Cajun recipe.

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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?

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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 (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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

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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?

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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 (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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