About a month ago, I set about preserving some lemons, a process I assumed would be rather simple and straightforward but has since become plagued with doubt and deadly fears. You see, in order to properly preserve lemons — Meyer lemons, no less! — the citrus must be submerged in its own juices. Easier said than done. Turns out my jar has an air pocket in the lid, and that coupled with the rinds’ tendencies to float, has caused me some concern. The lemons have thus remained largely submerged but not entirely.

So now I’m at a crossroads. Chuck the whole thing? Or press onwards?

Here’s the jar from above. Everything looks and fine and dandy at this point.

The process has taken its toll on the jar. Little rust marks where lemon juice had dried now pock the previously pristine metal brackets.

For the first time in three weeks, I open the jar. There doesn’t appear to be anything growing atop that first lemon (which frustratingly kept rising above the juice). The liquid certainly seems thicker, but is it safe?

It’s hard for me to believe that anything could grow in a highly salted, highly acidic environment, but then again, is it worth the risk? Maybe I should just discard the top lemon? I don’t know. One thing’s for sure: if I am to do this again, I’m gonna get a different type of jar. For now I’ve placed the whole contraption in the fridge while I ponder my decision.


19 replies on “JOURNEY OF THE PRESERVED LEMONS: Chapter 3 — The Crossroads”

  1. I was just thinking about this on my way to work today. Thank you for sparing me having to ask you how your lemons were doing.

    1. I too was thinking about the darn lemons today too funny

      Pitch them and start all over look for a different jar to use

  2. They look fine. Jump right in. Any mold would look gray, fuzzy, and powdery.
    YouTube has video and video how to preserve lemons and use them.

  3. you are an even worse friend than a blogger and you will never get work as a preserved lemon monger because you have no. talent.

  4. I am not familiar with preserving lemons, however all my preserves require either boiling the liquid, then pouring over the fruit packed in very hot jars with the rubber gasket sandwiched between the bail lid and jar. This will make for a vacuum seal. If you do not wish to boil the liquid, a 1/2″ of melted paraffin will also seal the air from the fruit. Then close the lid.

  5. I actually had a conversation about canning with someone last weekend. I told her how I was wary about canning because I feared the decontamination process. She said, “If you get a little mold – say if you make jelly or something – you just scrape it off and the rest is good.” I was a little drunk at the time, so I forget the other nuggets of wisdom, but it was all in the direction of “IT’S ALL GOOD”.

    Don’t quote me though, because these lemons are somewhat different than preserves.

  6. I’d tell you to man up and chow down, but I’m not sure if I can face a repeat of the Great Pneumonia-Related Dead Air of 2009.

  7. Pitch it. I can’t wait for the tribute video. In the meantime, I’ll content myself with the classic parsley memorial.

  8. Why, pray tell, are you preserving lemons? Did all the lemon growers go on strike or something? Are you headed into the woods for a few months? What is the purpose?

  9. quit being a pussy, leave the lemons alone, close the jar and move on. they will be fine.

  10. I’m going to ditto honeybunny and add that you need to blog about it and take lots of pics. 😉

  11. When canning fruit to keep the fruit submerged, wad up a piece of wax paper and stuff it in the lid of the jar to keep the lemons under the liquid. I do that with all the fruit I freezer can. And I think these lemons are fine…

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