I think this question here was originally too unclear.
because I was still researching and figuring out exactly what I wanted to ask when I posted it.
I edited it a few times,
but I think my editing has changed the question enough that it's no longer clearly the same question as when I first posted it,
so I decided I should probably post a new, separate one.

I make sauerkraut with 20 grams of salt per kilogram of cabbage.

Is the proportion different for pickling lemons/limes?
I would guess maybe lower because of the citric acid already there...?
I found one site saying 5~10% for "North-African style",
which is what I think I'm going for.
(I used to get them at Morrocan stores,
but the city I live in now doesn't have any.)

But if that "5~10%" is really by weight in the same way,
then that's a lot more than the 2% for sauerkraut,
which is surprising and confusing.

Also, I don't add any water to my sauerkraut,
but maybe that's necessary for lemons/limes?
In which case I would just salt the water at the same salt/water ratio as the salt/fruit, I assume?

The ones I used to get, I'm not sure, but I think they used nigella.

  • It's really better to just keep on editing to clarify than to post a new question. I think everything here is also asked in the other version of the question, and you seem to prefer it, so I'm closing this as a duplicate of the other. (If they're really distinct questions, you could clarify and I'll be happy to reopen. But we really want specific, clearly answerable questions, not just a thought process that invites discussion.) – Cascabel Oct 16 '16 at 16:10

I have experience with Indian lemon pickle, not north African.

The recipes I use don't give exact ratios for the salt. Salt is added to taste. A couple tablespoons per quart of packed lemon is normal. Lemon pickle is very salty which besides regulating the fermentation also helps with the bitterness from the peels.

You don't need to really worry about the exact ratio. It is so acidic and salty there is little that can grow. I've not yet had a batch spoil- even after months in the fridge.

Don't add water. The lemons need to be covered, of course, but use the juice from a couple extra fruit instead. No sense in diluting the flavor and acid.

  • Yeah, I didn't ask this question very clearly (kinda figuring out exactly what I wanted to ask as I wrote it)... thing is, I'm not worried about harmful microbes growing; I'm worried about the fermentation microbes not being able to grow. Like I said, I do cabbage at 2% salt (in the closet, never in the fridge. and higher salt concentrations with cabbage seem to slow down fermentation, and actually encourage surface mold growth), so lemons taking much more salt (5 to 10%) is surprising and confusing. But I couldn't find any other explicit mention of a ratio besides that one site... – Owen_AR Oct 16 '16 at 14:37

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