I made a batch of preserved Meyer lemons and the liquid is bubbling and fermenting. I don't recall this happening with regular preserved lemons. Is this normal? If so, how long should it last?
Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.
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Amanda, I don't know the answer precisely with regard to Meyer lemons, but I know that, with lacto-fermented vegetables or homemade sauerkraut, a couple of bubbles at the surface is OK, but you don't want excessive frothing, a fermented (fizzy) taste, or thickening of the brine. I'd probably be cautious with your batch of lemons.
I have given up on preserved lemons after one batch got black mould, and another had a LOT of white Ickies all through it....husband refused to even think about eating it!
I've been making batches of preserved Meyer lemons for the past 3 years , never seen it fermenting. , my latest batch from 3 weeks back was cut up into small pieces before salting and even with that level of exposed interiors, no bubbles.
I've been reading up on this and it sounds like bubbles are ok as long as it doesn't get too active -- similar to what Gena said above.
trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.
What's your preservation method? Salt and juice? Salt and water? Something else?
A small checklist to go through:
Is there iodine in your salt?
Do you use antibacterial soaps/detergents/anything in your home?
Are your lemons organic? Are they imported?
Iodine and antibacterial soaps are often the cause of moldy ferments as they kill off the beneficial invisible beasties.
As for lemons fermenting on you... I wish I had more experience preserving lemons. Going from general theory, perhaps these lemons have a different acid content than other kinds of lemons, so will react differently and/or may require more salt than the other kind.
Going to keep a close eye on this thread as I've just started preserving my own lemons.
Will check these things -- thanks!
Nancy is a trusted home cook.
Trampled - to one of your points, Meyer lemons (a cross breed with oranges) does have less acidic taste than regular ones. Otoh, panfusine has consistent success in preserving them, so maybe this problem is a 1-time thing from one of your other hypothetical s.
Shuna is a pastry chef in New York City and author of the acclaimed blog Eggbeater.
I really love questions like this. Fermenting is so tricky - wild indeed! I had a wee mince explosion this year, but in the end all was delicious.
I agree that one's preserving methods, and the "ambient" temperature of their home, has a lot to do with what occurs, and what can occur. After about 5 days at room temp., I put my lemons in the walk-in (usually much colder, and more stable, than a home fridge) with a full covering of lemon juice, and then olive oil, for extra "protection." I haven't noticed any fermented taste, or action... I used Meyer Lemons too.
Do let us know what you've discovered? I LOVED learning about how iodized salt kills good microbes. I'm a huge proponent for Kosher Salt myself, preferring it's "warm" taste, over the bitterness in "table salt," or the high acid of sea salt.
You pointed out an interesting fact that may explain why I've never seen fermentation. I've always used only sea salt for all my batches (a throw back to watching my mother make batches of lemon & lime pickles in India), perhaps its higher acidity was crucial. Thank you Shuna!