Silly preserved lemon problem
September 19, 2020 2:44 PM   Subscribe

The world is falling apart and I am making preserved lemons because, well, making something makes me feel slightly better. I ran into a problem.

I have made preserved lemons before. They're delicious in several things I like to cook and in a preserved lemon soda. I started a pretty big ball jar with four large lemons smooshed into it. At first it didn't look like there was enough juice so I juiced two more lemons into the jar.

Now I'd say the jar is 80% full of juice height-wise and 60% full of lemons, height-wise, so they're floating and not submerged. Perfidious lemons!

I feel like my options, which I'd like people to weigh in on or add to are:

-it's fine, they're in there with tons of salt and acid and I'm going to turn the jar over once a day.

-pour out some of the juice/brine and see if the balance is achievable of not floating but enough in there to cover

-figure out some way of keeping them smooshed under the juice, suggestions very welcome. I tried with a wooden skewer and it just goes right through the lemons and doesn't do anything.

While I'm asking, I've seen anything from 1 week to 3 weeks counter time before you put them in the fridge and call them preserved. Opinions?

I realize this is the simplest thing in the world to make and I am somehow making it complicated. It is my nature, at times.
posted by less of course to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
figure out some way of keeping them smooshed under the juice, suggestions very welcome

Fold up a paper towel and submerge it under the liquid, covering everything in the jar. This will generally keep the oranges just barely submerged, which is all you really need.

While I'm asking, I've seen anything from 1 week to 3 weeks counter time before you put them in the fridge and call them preserved

I'll use preserved lemons after 2 weeks or so, but I don't even bother refrigerating them.
posted by saeculorum at 2:51 PM on September 19


Usually when I need to weight something down, I use some kind of plate, bowl, tea cup, prep bowl, etc, that you can throw on top to add. Ceramic or glass, so it has heft. Something almost as wide as the jar so it doesn't slip down the side. An empty glass bottle works well if the jar doesn't need to seal -- because it sticks up through the neck, it has less ability to just slide down, plus you dono't have to stick your fingers in the juice to get it back out. Doesn't work with turning the jar, though. You could pull it out, close the jar and shake and then put it back, though.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:54 PM on September 19 [4 favorites]


Plastic bag filled with water is a common pickle weight, and would work here. I usually use a brine that matches whatever I'm pickling, just in case it pinholes or something.

4oz mason jars also fit juuuuust perfectly inside wide-mouth mason jars (but only up to the ring line on the 4oz buddy) so if it's close, you can use one of those to weigh things down too. You may need to fill that with a liquid too.
posted by furnace.heart at 2:54 PM on September 19 [6 favorites]


tons of salt and acid and your turning over every day?

firstly: i would argue that it's fine and tell you not to worry about it.

secondly: even though i know it's fine and totallysafeandnotaproblem, i would make sure they're submerged just in case. because of my perfidious brain.

there are a lot of things you can use. here is a primer.

i'm with saeculorm. wait a couple weeks and go for it. i store in the fridge out of habit and restricted counter space.

pro tip: prepare your next batch now, so it's ready to go when youre done with this one. waiting is for suckers.
posted by Time To Sharpen Our Knives at 3:00 PM on September 19 [4 favorites]


-it's fine, they're in there with tons of salt and acid and I'm going to turn the jar over once a day.

I vote that one with the caveat that you use the brine to make vinaigrettes.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:28 PM on September 19 [2 favorites]


Annecdata, but I'm in the "there is a lot of acid and salt in there, it's fine" camp. I make preserved lemons a lot and there's always some that float a little above the brine. For the first few days, every time I shake and turn the jar I also smoosh the lemons back down. Whole thing goes into the fridge after about 10 days. I am still alive.
posted by 4rtemis at 3:49 PM on September 19


Ok, I went with some combination of "it's fine" and "you can shove other vessels into the mouth of the jar"; in this case, a tapered beer glass. All lemons now drowned in the deep.

I wish preserved limes worked the same way but they don't seem to. Well, separate issue.
posted by less of course at 5:12 PM on September 19 [3 favorites]


The word you want for the thing on top to keep them submerged is a follower. There are some sized for mason jars now, so look around on Etsy.
posted by librarina at 10:58 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Anything you do is fine. If you want to get fancy there's a world of manufactured "pickle weights" or "fermentation weights". Thick heavy glass discs, ideally with a handle so you can pick them up. I have something like this. You want to match the diameter of the mouth of the jar you're using; Fido jars are handy that way since they are a standard opening.
posted by Nelson at 8:43 AM on September 20 [2 favorites]


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