A couple of weeks ago, I posted about an old favorite of mine, preserved lemons. Turns out there were a lot of questions. Okay, there was one question, asked many, many times across all social media. It was, “Can I do it with x?” where x = a citrus fruit that isn’t a lemon. My resounding answer was yes! You totally can! The only issue I’ve found is that they aren’t as versatile as the lemons, which I will put on and in just about anything. I put more salt in with the sweeter fruit (oranges and grapefruits) and into each jar I add the juice of a lemon for greater acidity. When you do your daily shake and smash, give it a sniff. If it smells like some kind of citrus crack you can’t stop sniffing, all is well. If after a few days, it starts smelling slightly alcoholic, like an ambrosial arancello (or whatever the lime and grapefruit versions are called), add another dash of salt and a little squeeze of lemon juice and check back the following day.
So what’s the point of the almost quartering thing? Anyone who has ever made a quick pickle knows that salting helps the produce release its juices. This juice-releasing is really helpful for this process because you need the maximum amount of juice out of your fruit if you’re going to end up with submerged fruit. When you salt and reform the fruit, you get the surfaces all good and salted, which makes for maximum squashing ease.
Feel free to experiment with seasonings or leave them out all together. Remember that anything you add before fermentation will limit the versatility of your final product.
Process after the jump.
Select small grapefruits, the thinner the skin, the better, ruby or regular work and you’ll definitely need a widemouthed container. Either use a half gallon jar, or use fewer grapefruits.
Seasoning suggestions: mustard seeds, coriander seeds, whole black peppercorns, lemongrass, ginger or juniper berries
- 5 small grapefruits, plus a couple lemons for their juice
- 6 T canning, sea or kosher salt (or more)
- 2-3 T of your choice (optional)
- As with preserved lemons, cut your grapefruit nearly into quarters, leaving it attached at the bottom
- Sprinkle salt onto the exposed flesh of the grapefruit and push the fruit back so that it looks whole
- Pour 3 T of salt into the bottom of the jar
- Push the grapefruit into the jar, topping each one with a thin layer of salt and seasonings (if desired)
- Once you have all the grapefruit in the jar, push it down with a wooden spoon, releasing as much juice as possible
- When you think you’ve pushed enough, push more.
- When you’ve done that, squeeze enough lemons into your grapefruit jar so that the whole fruits are totally submerged in juice
- Put a lid on them and stick them somewhere away from direct sunlight, but where you won’t forget to give them a shake
- Check back every day or so and shake them, always pushing the fruit back below the surface of the juice
- In about a month, you’ll have your preserved rinds. The pores of fruit will have smoothed out, and the liquid will be cloudy and viscous. The thicker the rind, the longer you’ll want to let it ferment. My preserved grapefruits and oranges took nearly 2 months this year. My limes were done in a month.