How to Ferment Lemons---Plus Variations!
I have become addicted to fermenting foods--ALL the foods! So when I was gifted with about a million lemons about a month ago, I had to find some great ways to use them! Of course, I turned to fermentation, which is a way to preserve your food so it lasts longer while (magic of all magics)---supplies probiotic goodness to your body! I'm a fan of fermentation because you have two great things going on at the same time: preservation AND raw health benefits and probiotics in your food to serve your body.
I've tried preserving lemons before, but I didn't like the way they turned out because the pieces were so large. I tried this fermentation experiment a little differently this time! Here is how I fermented these two batches and the different spices I used in each one. Depending on how they are spiced, you can use them in different ways, and I'll give you some ideas for ways to use them too!
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How to Ferment Lemons
Step 1) Slice your lemons about 1/4 inch thick or so.
Step 2) Pack them into your Mason jar.
Step 3) Add about 1/4 cup per quart Mason jar of leftover brine. Whey is also fine. Read this article for more information about how to make whey. At this point, also add about 1/2 to 1 tablespoon salt per Mason jar. I tend to use a little less than more. The salt helps keep harmful organisms away while helping along the lacto-fermentation process.
Step 4) Now add your spices. There are lots of ways you can spice your lemons, and here are the two options I used this time:
Mediterranean Fermented Lemons:
I used Cinnamon chips and a little Cardamom for a Mediterranean spice type ferment.
Basic Fermented Lemons:
I simply used Peppercorns and a little minced garlic for a Lemon Pepper flavored ferment
Step 5) Place a weight of some type over the lemons to hold them under the liquid to prevent mold from forming.
Step 6) Place your airlock system on top. OR, if you don't have an airlock, you can just use a lid. You'll just have to "burp" your ferment once to twice daily to be sure to allow the gases that are released to escape. **My favorite airlocks for fermenting in Mason jars are these silicone nipple-type airlocks. They work great and are easy to clean!
Step 7) Allow your ferment to sit for about two to four weeks. I've discovered lemons take a little longer to ferment that other vegetables, probably because of the acids.
Step 8) Test, and when you like them....Enjoy!
You can eat these plain if you love lemons! Other ways to use these are in recipes that call for savory lemons, such as Lemon Chicken, Pork Chops, etc. The great thing is you can also use the brine.
What Do Fermented Lemons Taste Like?
I love the taste of fermented lemons! While I'm not a fan of eating lemons in their original state, lemons that have been fermented are much more mild and easy on the digestive system. They have a softer flavor, but still retain that amazing lemon taste!