The humongous bag of Meyer lemons our friend Kristen gave us in early April lasted for more than a month. I just love how aromatic Meyer lemon juice and zest are. Sometimes I just enjoy eating them whole, skin and all. When I saw this recipe for pickled Meyer lemons on Just Homemade, I knew what to do with the remaining 8 lemons in the fridge.
Preserved lemons are super simple to make and work beautifully as an added flavor to stews, couscous, pilafs, grilled fish and the list goes on. Rely on them to add another dimension of flavor. If you haven’t yet tasted preserved lemon, then what are you waiting for?
I’ve never had pickled Meyer lemons before so this was exciting!! The original recipe calls for chili pepper powder. However because I’m wild about chili powder and spices, I got creative. I used three kinds plus added some nigella seeds to the pickle. I sort of respected the overall proportion of chili dictated by the original recipe.
Indian inspired Meyer lemon pickle
8 Meyer lemons, lightly scrubbed with a sponge, rinsed, dried, quartered and seeded
4 tbsp sea salt (or less)
3 tbsp gochugaru pepper flakes
¾ tbsp pasilla pepper powder
¾ tbsp cayenne pepper powder
1 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
2 tbsp fenugreek powder
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
Couple of pinches asafetida
Glass jar cleaned and thoroughly dried
Parchment paper, cut to fit the top of the jar
step one, preserving the lemons:
Begin by adding ¾ tbsp salt to the bottom of glass jar. Partially squeeze the juice of a few lemon quarters. Arrange these partially squeezed quarters at the bottom of the jar. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat process until done. Place parchment paper on top of the jar and cover with lid. Give it a good shake so salt dissolves and juices permeate lemons. Let stand at room temperature for about 5 days. Shake the jar every day to ensure juices percolate through the lemon pieces.
….on the 4th or 5th day, step 2:
Heat a skillet on high. Add fenugreek seeds and barely warm them through. This process will bring the aromas out. Don’t toast or burn it. It will be too bitter. I burned mine the first time around so had to re-do this part. Transfer to a grinder and whiz it to pulverize. Set aside.
Return pan to the heat; add oil followed by the mustard seeds and cook until seeds begin to pop. Remove from heat. Add asafetida and let cool completely to room temperature.
Add chili peppers, nigella seeds, and ground fenugreek to a stainless steel bowl. Mix to combine. Empty the jar of lemons with the liquid over the spices. Mix to combine. Add cooled combo of popped mustard, asafetida and oil to the lemons and toss to combine.
Return lemons to the jar with the entire thick sauce. Cover and refrigerate. Use as a condiment or serve it as a side dish. This is salty so use it parsimoniously. Once we finish this batch I am going to experiment with it to make a less salty version.
We enjoyed this delicious pickled Meyer lemon last Monday with a basmati pilaf Steven made like this one.