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+ servings
fermented lemons

Fermented Lemons (Preserved Lemons)

Summer Yule
This fermented lemons recipe requires two ingredients: fresh lemons and sea salt. You'll love the BIG flavor preserved lemons add to meals!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Slow Food DIY
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 6
Calories 5 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 large Meyer lemons (can use other types of lemons; you may need more lemons to fill the jar if they are small)
  • ¾ cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed (made from additional fresh lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt or finely ground sea salt

Instructions

  • Clean and sanitize your canning jar in the dishwasher. Rinse and dry your whole lemons.
  • Cut off the blossom and stem ends off two lemons. Cut the lemons into slices that are ¼-inch (0.64 cm) thick. Save the lemon ends for another recipe. (Infused water or candied lemon peels are two possibilities.)
  • Juice enough of the remaining lemons to yield ¾ cup of fresh lemon juice.
  • Rub your lemon slices on all sides with salt. Don’t cut back on the amount of salt in this recipe. It helps prevent bad bacteria growth during the fermentation process.
  • Pack the salted lemon slices tightly into a jar, but don’t overfill. The slices must remain below the lip of the jar. Use fewer lemons than you sliced, if needed. 
  • Cover the sliced lemons in the jar completely with lemon juice. You may or may not need all of the lemon juice you squeezed. 
  • Place the jar weight (from the fermentation kit) in the jar to help keep the lemons under the liquid. Screw on the air lock lid. Add water to the lid if necessary, if the lid you have requires it.
  • Allow your lemons to ferment for 4-5 weeks at room temperature (about 60-70°F/16-21°C). Compare the pics of fresh to finished lemons in this article for visual indicators of "doneness."
  • If you are using an air lock lid and jar weight, you should not need to do anything with the lemons while they ferment. The one exception is if you are using an air lock lid with water, and your house is dry. In that case, you may need to add water to the lid periodically. 
  • Refrigerate the fermented lemons after the fermentation period has ended. (Use a regular canning jar lid for storage, not the airlock lid.) They will keep in the fridge for 6-12 months, as long as they remain submerged in the brine. Enjoy!

Notes

This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). Fermented lemons are a low calorie, low carb, and low fat condiment. I don’t hesitate to classify this as a level 1 recipe. They are a wonderful addition to a variety of healthy recipes. 
The one group that these fermented lemons are not appropriate for are individuals on low sodium diets. If you have a medically-indicated sodium restriction, foods fermented in lots of salt are not the best option. That would include these preserved lemons, as well as traditionally fermented sauerkraut and pickles. 
As mentioned previously, the salt is necessary in this recipe for safe fermentation. If you are on a strict low sodium diet, I would stick to using fresh lemons in recipes. 
On the flip side, this salty condiment can help if you need to boost your electrolyte intake. Athletes who are salty sweaters and some on keto and very low carb diets may benefit here. Both of these groups may experience large electrolyte losses and this recipe may help with replenishment. 
As with most things in nutrition, the determination of whether this recipe is a good choice depends on what you need. The answer is not going to be the same for everyone! 
 
Nutrition information is for one serving of the recipe. Sodium content will depend on whether you rinse the fermented lemons before using and whether you use the brine. Vitamin C is reduced with heat and prolonged storage, so the amount listed here is likely an overestimate. 

Nutrition

Calories: 5kcalCarbohydrates: 1.8gPotassium: 26.7mgFiber: 0.5gVitamin C: 17.1% DVCalcium: 0.5% DVIron: 0.6% DV
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