Food in Jars Mastery Challenge: Salt Preserving

Throughout 2017 Marisa McClellan, author of the blog Food in Jars, is runnning a series of monthly canning and preserving challenges. I decided to participate in order to learn some new skills and make some recipes I might not normally gravitate towards.

February’s challenge was salt preserving, and Marisa provided several options, including saurkraut, soup base, citrus salts, and preserved lemons. I decided to make preserved lemons, as I come across them from time to time in recipes and was curious about them. (I didn’t follow the instructions in that post exactly – after reading the comments and other information on preserving lemons, I made a couple of small changes.)

After washing the lemons well, the treatment is simple – combine them in a jar with a bunch of salt. The salt stars to draw the juice out, and the idea is that after a few days they should be submerged in brine. Here are mine right after I prepared them. I gave them a little squish with a wooden spoon to get them started.

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After letting them sit out for four days, shaking the jars two or three times a day, I had more juice but they weren’t quite covered, and there was a lot of salt that hadn’t dissolved. (I also had a leaky mess on my hands, because those plastic caps are not watertight). I had another lemon or two from the batch I’d bought and juiced them into the jars and squished them a bit more as well. More salt dissolved, but a few days later they still weren’t really submerged.

I squished again, bought more lemons and juiced enough into the jars to just about fill them up. They’re now covered and more salt dissolved, but not all of it. I think this means I over salted, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Here they are today, just about 12 days later:

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They will be ready to use in a couple more weeks, but I may let them go a bit longer. In the meantime, I’ve collected several recipes (many from this post) and look forward to experimenting with these this spring.

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