Moroccan Preserved Lemons
  • 8-10tablespoons fine sea salt (Celtic or Himalayan noniodized salt), divided
  • 10whole, organic, unwaxed lemons
  • 1cinnamon stick
  • 1bay leaf
  • 1teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1mild red chile pepper, such as Fresno, sliced into thin circles
  • 2tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  1. Add 1 tablespoon salt to the bottom of a ½-gallon mason jar or other sterilized glass fermentation vessel. Cut a deep cross in five whole lemons from one end to within ¾ inch of the other end, leaving the lemons intact. In other words, cut them in quarters without slicing all the way through.
  2. Over a bowl, sprinkle salt inside each lemon, rubbing salt into lemon pulp. Then reshape lemons and place them inside jar. Using a wooden spoon or tamper, smash the five lemons until they release their juices and soften. This will form the brine. Add cinnamon stick, bay leaf, peppercorns and chile pepper slices. Slice remaining five whole lemons the same way, sprinkling salt inside each one, and add to the jar. Add the 2 tablespoons lemon juice and any remaining salt; then smash lemons some more with wooden spoon. (TIP: If lemons are not fully submerged under the lemon juice brine, add enough saltwater to cover and use glass weights to keep them submerged.)
  3. Cover jar tightly with a regular or airlock lid. If using a metal lid without a rubber lining, place a layer of parchment between the lid and the jar so that the acid in the jar doesn’t eat away at the lid and cause it to rust. Allow mixture to ferment in a cool, dark place for 4–6 weeks, until the lemon rinds are soft enough to bite. When fermented to desired taste, place a new lid on the jar, mark it with the date, and store in refrigerator up to 6 months.
  4. Makes 8 cups; Prep 25 minutes; Fermentation 2–4 weeks