Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Things to Know About Lemon Brining for Tea

Brining lemons is a way to preserve them for use when they are not in season. Brining lemons also adds extra depth of flavor to the lemons because of the saltwater solution in which they are brined, along with any dried spices you use. Preserving lemons through brining also allows you to take advantage of a producing lemon tree or low prices on lemons, letting you keep them for use throughout the year. Brined lemons should be used within six months from the day they are opened.

Step 1

Combine 4 cups of fresh lemon juice and 1/2 cup kosher salt in a large saucepan on the stovetop. Bring the mixture just to a boil, stirring it regularly until the salt is fully dissolved in the water. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cover it until needed.

Step 2

Rinse 8 fresh lemons under cold water from the tap. Gently scrub the skin with your fingers to remove any dirt and minor blemishes.

Step 3

Slice the lemons in half with a sharp knife and place them in a large sterilized glass jar.

Step 4

Ladle the hot brine over the lemons in the sterilized jar. Gently press down on the lemons once all of the hot brine has been added so they are fully submerged.

Step 5

Seal the sterilized glass jars with tight-fitting sterilized tops. Place the lemons in a cool, dry place for six weeks before using them.

Tips and Warnings

  • You can cut the quantities in half or double them as desired. With a permanent marker, label the jar with the date on the day you open it. Discard the brined lemons after six months. Brined lemons are commonly seasoned with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, star anise and black peppercorns to taste for extra flavor. For a decorative touch, add a lemon leaf or two to the jar before sealing it with the top. If you have more lemons than you want to preserve specifically for tea, you can add a splash of extra virgin olive oil to the jar right before sealing it to use for cooking purposes. For additional flavor you can add freshly ground black or white pepper or cayenne pepper for extra spice.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Large saucepan
  • 8 fresh lemons
  • Sharp knife
  • Large sterilized glass jar with a tight-fitting top, approximately 64 ounce capacity
  • Ladle
  • Permanent marker
  • Cinnamon, optional, to taste
  • Cardamom, optional, to taste
  • Cloves, optional, to taste
  • Star anise, optional, to taste
  • Black peppercorns, optional, to taste
  • Lemon leaves, optional

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