Technically, what we call Meyer lemons are not really Meyer lemons. They are actually Eureka lemons – as real Meyer lemons were all wiped out by a virus and are now extinct. David Lebovitz tells more here.
8 to 10 Meyer or regular lemons, preferably organic, scrubbed very clean (mine were a gift from someone’s California garden!)
1/2 cup kosher salt, plus more if needed
Fresh lemon juice, if needed
1 dried bay leaf
1 star anise
1 dried Thai chile
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 cinnamon stick, optional
1. Sterilize a quart-sized jar. Place 1 tablespoon of salt on the bottom.
2. Cut off any protruding stems from the lemons and remove about 1/4 inch off the tip of each lemon. Cut 2/3 to 3/4 of the way down the lemon; repeat at a 90 degree angle, so the lemon is quartered, but not all the way through. Place lemons in a large nonreactive bowl and dump the salt somewhere on the side. Put on a pair of disposable gloves – if you have any cuts on your hands, the combination of lemon juice and salt won’t be pleasant. Holding the lemon over the bowl, gently open each lemon and sprinkle salt all over the inside of the lemons. Rub the salt around the outside.
3. Pack the lemons tightly in a jar, pressing down so that the juices are extracted and the lemon juice rises to the top of the jar. If your lemons do not produce enough juice, add more lemon juice as needed. Add the peppercorns, bay leaf, cloves, coriander, or cinnamon stick, if using, cover, and let the jar sit at room temperature for 3 days.
4. Place the jar in the refrigerator and allow to sit for at least 3 weeks. Periodically, turn the jar upside down and let sit a few days. Repeat.
5. To use, rinse off the salt off the lemon prior to cooking. Pick out the seeds. Some people prefer to discard the pulp before using, others prefer to keep it. Entirely up to you. Store, refrigerated for up to 6 months, though I’ve gone as long as 9, and they were fine.