The tradition of these fermented lemons is Moroccan, but their use ismuch broader. Omit the spices if you like, other than salt. If your lemons are organic you can skip the initial boiling.

Makes 2 quarts.

6 lemons, preferably thin-skinned and organic, about
1¾ pounds, well scrubbed
½ cup coarse salt
1-inch stick cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice berries
½ teaspoon peppercorns
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the lemons, return the water to a boil, and cook 3 minutes. Drop the lemons in cold water, changing the water to cool the lemons. Drain and dry.

Stand the lemons on end and cut them lengthwise in quarters nearly through so that they open out but remain attached at one end. Spread each open and sprinkle the inside liberally with the salt; close it up and pack it into a wide-mouthed 2-quart preserving jar or two 1-quart jars, pressing down to squeeze out some of the juice. Continue with the remaining lemons. Add the spices to the jar or jars along with the remaining salt, and pour in fresh boiling water up to the top. Wait a bit for all the bubbles to rise, then seal and sterilize according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Store at least one month in a cool dry place. To use, rinse a lemon and quarter, slice or chop with or without the pulp. After opening, store in the refrigerator.