1. With a sharp knife, quarter the lemons lengthwise, starting at the bottom and stopping ¾ of the way through. Each lemon will be partially cut into four sections held together by the stem end.
2. Pour 1 tablespoon of kosher salt into the bottom of your jar.
3. Hold a cut lemon in your palm with the cut sections up and open. Position your hand with the lemon over a bowl and sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoon(s) of salt into the center (depending on the size of your fruit). Close the sections up around the salt, reforming the lemon shape, and set into your jar stem side down.
4. Repeat with each lemon, squeezing them in tightly next to each other in the jar.
5. Cover with a non-reactive closure*** to keep out curious flying insects!
6. Label your jar with its name and date, set aside in an area away from direct sunlight, and wait patiently...
7. 24-36 hours after jarring, your citrus should be covered in its own brine. If not, lend a hand and add in the juice of a few freshly squeezed lemons to help the progress along.
8. After about 1 month, your lemons will be transformed through a gentle fermentation and pickling from their familiar sharp, bright and tangy flavour to a deeper, mellowed out and earthier essence - still recognizable as lemon, but more robust and layered with intensity.
* If you are purchasing lemons, look for organic ones to minimize exposure to pesticides (especially as you'll be using the outer peel). Rub purchased lemons with a soft cloth and distilled vinegar to clean any wax residue off of the surface.
** There are two main brands of Kosher Salt and, unfortunately, they are NOT interchangeable in recipes.
Morton is rolled into flat & compressed flakes, it is heavier by volume with a higher salt concentration.
Diamond Crystal is air dried, which leads to a lighter pyramidal crystalline structure.
This recipe has been calibrated for the use of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. If all you have is Morton's, fear not! Use half of the required salt amount, and all will be fine.
Do not substitute Iodized Salt, often called "table salt", for Kosher Salt - the added iodine and anti-caking agents will interfere with our intended goal of fermentation and preservation.
*** Traditional metal bands will rust. If you do not have a plastic lid, cut a square of finely woven cloth and secure it over the jar opening with a rubber band or string.