Pickling Lemon
Lemon pickles can be made with whole lemons, wedges or just the skin. The fruit pulp of the lemon can be useful, but it is actually the skin, the yellow zest with the white pith, that is most prized. Usually lemons are pickled for at least three months, and a year is more desirable, but if you start with skin that has started to turn moldy, it can be made into a palatable and interesting lemon peel pickle in a few weeks, depending on how much the skin has been broken down by the mold. The blue-green penicillium mold is harmless; it is the same mold you eat live in blue cheese, but it will be killed by the salt in the pickling process, anyway. (You can watch this happen when you put the peels into the brine if you use a clear glass jar.) You can also use the skins from fresh lemons you have squeezed the juice out of, although these will take longer to pickle than moldy skins.


Lemon pickles have an interesting, tangy taste and are a fun and nourishing way to use up lemon peels, particularly if you have an extra moldy lemon peel after making lemon pudding with the inside of the moldy lemon. (See Lemon Pudding). The pickled lemon peel or wedge will lightenup a heavy meal of meat and fat and help stimulate digestion. They are excellent with olives and pickled onions.

Lemon pickles are most popular in India, where they are called Nimbu Mitha Achar. Chopped up and mixed with other foods they can be made into a condiment called salsa (South American or Latino), chutney (India), relish (European) and confit by various cultures. In India, a type of sugar called jaggery is often added to the lemons. You can add a little sucanat or raw cane sugar if you want to make a "fizzier" lemon pickle.


To Lacto-Ferment Lemon Pickles:
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Cut lemon wedges, take peels from moldy lemons or use wedges left over from squeezing for juice. Whole lemons or any lemon body left on the peel is okay. If whole lemons, pierce with a needle around the lemon or cut slashes into the skin.



Put in a glass jar and cover with brine. Brine is salt and water in a ratio of 1 teaspoon full-array salt (such as sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt) to 1 pint of water.

Add rocks, some food-safe leaves or use whatever method you are familiar with to the top to push the lemons down under the brine.

Cover with an airlock

Leave in  a sunny spot under a drip pan or where overflow will not cause damage (such as on a drainage counter near the sink) until they turn a slight golden brown. This can be anywhere from a few weeks to a year, depending on how many lemons you use and how firm they are. If you open the jar to see if they are done, just top up the brine, replace the cover and push them back under the brine and continue fermenting.

To make a sweet lemon pickle, follow the above instructions but use the following ingredients:

12 smooth-skinned Lemons
3 tablespoons of full-array salt
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (crushed)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (crushed)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups of  brown sugar, packed tight
1/2 cup fresh Lemon juice


Once you've made your pickled lemon peel, it can be used to make other such as chutney or mincemeat.

  To Make Fruit Chutney  
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Make a tomato salsa
Chop up pickled lemon peels and mix with salsa.
Add honey to taste.
Chop up and add any fruit that is starting to go off, ferment or turn mushy (this is a great recipe for hot summer days when all the fruit in the house is getting soft).
Cover and leave in the fridge overnight

 To Make Mincemeat 

Make the pickled lemon peels, salsa and chutney as described above.
Finely chop or grind meat to be used. (Exact amounts will vary to taste and what you have on hand. I use a pea-sized piece of organic raw meat to a tablespoon of chutney.)
Finely chop or grind cooked lard pieces [optional]
Mix chopped meat in with chutney.
Add spice to taste.

Store in fridge

Note: this is a great way to eat raw meat if you want to get raw meat into your diet but are put off by it.

 What's the difference between a relish and a pickle?

Relish is made of pickles. A pickle is a large, or at least bite-size, piece of a lacto-fermented vegetable. A chutney, relish, salsa or confit is vegetables chopped or ground up into tiny pieces, and can even be ground through a blender to make a jam consistency.
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Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation by The Gardeners and Farmers of Centre Terre Vivante.
Food Enzymes for Health & Longevity by Dr.Edward Howell

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