Citrus season is near, and so welcome during this cold part of the year. Bright flavors from lemons, grapefruits, and oranges are a welcome respite from the root vegetables and hearty stews.
Lacto-fermentation is one means of making the most of the citrus harvest. Whether you’re harvesting from your own tree or stocking up while they’re fresh, fermenting lemons prolongs their life. It also makes an interesting addition to various dishes, especially when flavored with popular spices of the winter season.
Spiced Lacto-Fermented Lemons
- 3 lemons (thin-skinned lemons work very well)
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Lemon juice
- Sea salt
- Place the bay leaf at the bottom of a clean 1-quart jar. Mix together the cloves, allspice and 2 tablespoons of salt.
- Cut the lemons into rounds, and slice each round in half.
- Pack the sliced lemons into the jar, layering with sprinkles of the salt and spice mixture. Fill the jar, leaving about an inch of space below the rim. Slide the cinnamon sticks in against the sides of the jar, breaking them off if necessary to make them fit.
- Add 1/2 cup of lemon juice and fill the rest of the jar up with filtered water, leaving one inch of headspace. You may add a teaspoon of starter, such as whey or brine from a previous ferment, if you prefer. Cover the jar tightly with a clean lid or airlock.
- Leave the jar of spiced lemons out at room temperature for one to two weeks, keeping them away from drafts and direct sunlight. Once the lemons are bubbly and fragrant, taste them to determine if they are at your desired level of fermentation; if not, ferment them as long as you like before placing them into cold storage.
Left covered, these will keep in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.