An old fashioned tradition
At another time in my life we owned a funeral home. I would frequently need to go to the medical examiner’s office for pick-ups (you know what I mean…) The reason I mention this is because of the lemon tree in their foyer. No matter what time of year, that medical examiner’s lemon tree always looked fabulous. In the summer it had gorgeous fruit. It was a bright spot in an otherwise dreary place.
I would love to have a lemon tree too.
So, even in Oregon…in the medical examiner’s office…you can grow citrus. You can grow this tasty fruit just about anywhere as long as you bring it indoors during cold spells. They do very well indoors with winter protection.
Fresh lemons only last a few weeks, so if you want to keep this summer fruit fresh and have it for future cooking needs there’s an old fashioned way to do it.
Preserving Lemon in Salt
1. Use organic lemons or wash them in a fruit rinse consisting of vinegar and baking soda (see how to make it at this post from Self Reliant School). There’s no sense in putting up produce with chemicals.
2. Slice your lemons into useful size sections. Some people quarter the lemon but keep it connected at the very bottom. then they have large pieces to use. I like to have mine in smaller slices so I can pull out just a bit for cooking and not disturb the rest.
3. Alternate layers of lemon and kosher salt until they are completely covered. You can use any kind of salt you want as long as it does not have iodine in it. Using iodine will discolor the fruit and cloud the juices. I put up two good size lemons in this canning jar.
4. To be especially safe, you should store this in the refrigerator, where it will last one year until the next lemon harvest. I know, I know – the pioneers didn’t use refrigeration, but that’s my recommendation. refrigerate for safety.
How to use those lemons
That is perhaps the easiest part of all. Take a slice from the salt, rinse it off and use it like any fresh lemon. It’s that simple.
There are a few other preservation methods for citrus. You can zest and dry the rind for addition into future recipes and you can freeze the juice in ice cube trays and have flavored ice for cooking and hot days. Be sure and check out one of our most popular posts – 24 Ways to Use an Orange – for more ideas. Many of those will work for lemons too.