ma’s job has her putting together boxes of produce much like a csa, but from several vendors, and targeted at low-income individuals on the east side of detroit. sometimes she has leftovers that no one wants at the sites, and we are lucky enough to get the produce. this last week it was about a dozen lemons.
i’ve long enjoyed the pickled lemons that are found in mediterranean markets, though i also love the south indian lemon pickles too. with my love of fermenting food, i felt it wouldn’t be too hard to ferment my own pickles, starting with the mediterranean style, i’ll try the south indian style next time. i looked up several recipes and made something up that sounded right to me.
step one – wash the lemons and crock
these are nonorganic lemons so i took special care to wash them well and washed the crock out as well. you of course don’t have to use a crock, you can use a food grade bucket or mason jar.
step two – quarter lemons and cut out the pith
some recipes i looked at recommended cutting out the pith, and i like that idea, since the pith is bitter. i figured the skin contains enough pith, and that cutting out the pith would help release some of the juice.
step 3 add the spices and salt
all the recipes called for cinnamon, so i added that, several recommended bay leaf, and then i added peppercorns, fennel, cumin and coriander for good measure. maybe it’s overkill, but i think it will work out fine. i added generous amounts of salt to the bottom
step 4 – pack in the lemons
i packed em on their end, which i felt would have them keep their shape better than putting them on the side. i packed 2 layers, adding more salt and more spices in between the layers, and then added more salt and spices to the top.
then add water so that it covers everything. lemons don’t seem to float to the top unlike most other ferments i’ve done.
step 5 weight it down and add oil
unlike most other ferments recipes i consulted recommended adding olive oil to the top to seal it against the air since the lemons don’t seem to rise up. i was a little worried that the lemons might pop up so i did the usual method of a plate and weight, and then added oil over top. finally i added a towel and tied it all tight like making sauerkraut.
this should ferment for at least 4 to 6 weeks. i’ll test them in a few and see how they are.