Italian or Moroccan-Spiced Salt-Cured Lemon Recipe

Image fermented lemons This is a simple recipe which can be made two different ways – plain Italian or spiced Moroccan – used for a wide-range of recipes.

Like all other preserved foods made in the Pickl-It, the water-airlock and Pickl-It air-tight seal keep oxygen out of the anaerobic chamber.

Lemons have been preserved in oxygen-free containers for centuries using this salt-brine method.

Just in case you are wondering, lemons do not ferment. They can be distilled into a flavorful liqueur, but not fermented, as are traditional fruit-based wines. In fact, any citrus fruit oils inhibit fermentation.

Still, salt-cured foods are a respectable and time-honored method of food-preservation, as well as adding flavor. Used sparingly, their brine, rind, zest or flesh, added by the teaspoonfuls adds a punch” of flavor, that should not dominate the essence of the dish.

  • Add lemon zest to a basic avocado and tomato salad, along with a dash of salt and pepper
  • Season couscous or rice, adding either the brine, flesh or zest of Pickl-It salt-cured lemons, just before serving
  • Create fresh condiments for fish, chicken, pork; mixing chopped parsley, garlic and Pickl-It salt-cured lemon zest
  • Substitute Pickl-It salt-cured lemon flesh, juice or rind/zest in recipes calling for fresh lemons

Basic Recipe for Italian and Moroccan Salt-cured Lemons

Both recipes begin with the same foundation: whole thick-skinned American-style lemons – quartered, but not cut completely through – which are then stuffed with several tablespoons of salt and packed into a Pickl-It container, then covered with freshly-squeezed lemon juice-brine.

Image Stop Sign This is the stopping point if you want a traditional, Italian, salt-cured lemon, ready in 30-days of fermenting at room temperature – between 68-72F. At the end of that wait, you’ll be rewarded with a flavorful, beautiful batch of classic Italian preserved lemons, which you will keep for months, stored in your refrigerator.

If Moroccan preserved lemons are preferred, simply add the following whole, organic spices, and then ferment for 30-days:

  • bay leaf – 4
  • cinnamon stick – 2 3-inch
  • allspice – 1 T
  • coriander seed – 1 T

The spices transform the flavor profile to that of traditional north African cuisine, reflecting a wide variety of classic Moroccan dishes.

If you can’t decide, make two different batches. There are so many recipes to try!

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Basic (Italian) Salt-Cured Lemons

7 to 8 medium lemons (organic, without a wax coating)
7 lemons – freshly juiced
3/4 cup unrefined sea salt

Image Salted Lemon

  1. Review how to set up your Pickl-It
  2. Thoroughly wash organic lemons, removing any remaining blossom (if pulled fresh from the tree).
  3. Cut lemons in quarters STOPPING 1/4-inch from bottom, so the sections remain connected.
  4. Stuff 2-T salt into openings of each lemon, gently compacting into each cut section.
  5. Pack into 1 1/2-liter Pickl-It container.
  6. Mix remaining salt & lemon juice.
  7. Pour lemon juice/salt over lemons packed in Pickl-It.
  8. The brine should extend 1/2-inch above the lemons; if not, add filtered, non-chlorine, non-fluoride water to raise level.
  9. DO NOT PACK LEMONS into the Pickl-It higher than shoulder; as you need to save room for the added lemon juice.
  10. Close & latch Pickl-It cover.
  11. Place 1 1/2 T water in Pickl-It airlock (gently twist into grommet in Pickl-It cover before filling with water).
  12. Place Pickl-It in dark corner, cover Pickl-It body, making sure not to cover the airlock.
  13. Ferment at room temperature for 30-days; check airlock water-level and brine-level every few days.
  14. At the end of the 30-days, refrigerate; use in recipes.
  15. Storage-expectancy – up to 1-year when stored in-fridge in a Pickl-It container.
  16. Please remember to change your airlock water at least monthly, when using Pickl-It for long-term food preservation storage.

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