Fermented Lemons

Fermented lemons, also called preserved lemons, are super easy to make and are so delicious. It’s amazing how the texture and flavour changes after just one week of fermentation.
The skin is soft, the lemons less acidic and milder and the added cinnamon makes it go so well with Moroccan dishes, chickpeas, fish and roasted lamb. My kids eat them straight out of the jar, with roasted potatoes, homemade cheese, roasted pumpkin salad, on bread with hummus… OK with literally everything! Not just the kids, Kai and I also love those lemons and we go though a 1-litre jar in 1-2 weeks.

Please note that the pictures below are 2x the recipe (2kg lemons made 2x 1 litre jars and 2x 500ml jars).

Recipe: Fermented Lemons

You need:

1kg organic lemons

Juice of 2-3 lemons (skin can be chopped and added to ferment)

20g sea salt (2% concentration)

10g cinnamon stick, broken up

2 Tbsp active whey (drained from kefir or natural yoghurt) for a fast start (vegan option: replace whey with 1-2 tsp extra sea salt)

Fermentation jars, airlocks and weights (like this pack). Individual options are found here: KoruKai Fermentation Equipment


Wash lemons and slice them thinly. Then cut slices into quarters and put into a bowl along with the lemon juice and whey.

Add salt and broken up cinnamon sticks and toss everything.

Let stand for 10 minutes to release juices (do not pound them!). In the meantime sterilise jar/fermentation vessel with boiling water and dry in the oven at 100 °C for 20 minutes. Cover glass weight, lids and airlock in boiling water and let sit for 5 minutes.

Divide lemons into two 1 litre fermentation jars and press down lightly with the pounder to release juices (do not pound them!) and cover the lemon pieces. Make sure to leave 5-8 cm at the top to prevent spillage.

Add your weight/s and airlock and cover tightly.

Keep at room temperature for 1-2 weeks (depending on temperature).

Check and taste the ferment after a week. Remove any scum and mold if present and wash the weights before replacing. Add salty brine at 2% strength if needed.

Once they taste to your liking, remove weight and airlock and fasten regular lid onto the jar and store in the fridge.

Can be enjoyed immediately or can be left to mature for 1-2 months in the fridge. Keeps for over 6 months in the fridge.

Goes well with rich foods, spicy meats, Moroccan dishes, roasted lamb, fish dishes.

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