Yield: Makes 1 quart
Wash and dry a 1-quart, wide-mouth glass jar. Cut a thin slice from the top and bottom of each lemon. Set 1 lemon on end and slice it three-quarters of the way through the fruit so that the two halves remain attached at the base; do not cut it in half. Turn the lemon upside down, rotate it 90 degrees, and make a second slit down the center, crosswise to the first.
Fill each cut with as much salt as it will hold. Put the lemon in the bottom of the jar. Repeat with the remaining lemons, compressing them into the jar until no space is left. The number of lemons you can squeeze into a jar will depend on their size, the thickness of their skin, and the dimensions of the jar. A dozen small, thin-skinned lemons, such as Meyers, should fit in a 1-quart. jar.
As you proceed, the juice squeezed from the lemons should fill the jar. The lemons will get easier to squeeze into the jar the longer they sit. In fact, more lemons can be added the next day as the rinds begin to soften. If the lemons aren’t completely covered with juice, add some juice squeezed from other lemons to cover. Seal and set the jar aside. Make sure the lemons are covered by juice at all times, adding more if necessary.
The lemons are ready to use when tender, in 3 to 4 weeks. Rinse them lightly before using. Once opened, store in a cool, dry place or refrigerate. They’ll keep for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.