My mind is on lemons at the moment as I have just written an article on them for the winter edition of Go Gardening Magazine and I can hardly wait for this seasons crop of lemons to fully ripen so I can make a new batch of preserved lemons! Once you discover how simple they are to make and use, and how delicious they taste, you will never go back to life without them!
I just love how exceptionally good so many traditionally preserved foods are. Our ancestors preserved out of necessity to keep the nutritional healthfulness and flavours of fresh foods available all year round but what happened by default was they created amazing diverse and different flavours that are often very different to the fresh food, but in the case of preserved lemons, absolutely divine! I don't recommend trying salt preserved lemons straight out of the jar, but I do recommend that they be added to any dish you desire to create a deep lemony rich undertone. Use just about anywhere a savoury dish calls for fresh lemon
To make your own preserved lemons is so easy. You will need:
4. 1 medium sized bowl
How to do it:
Wash and dry your lemons and remove any stems.
With the stalk end of the lemon down and pointy end up slice each lemon into quarters, about ¾ of the way through , leaving the lemon fully intact at the stalk end.
Working over the bowl, 1 lemon at a time, cram about 1 tablespoon of salt inside the cuts. Press each salted lemon down firmly as you place it into the jar, so a good quantity of salty juice is squeezed out around it. Repeat until the jar is almost full and hopefully the top lemons are covered in juice. If not, squeeze some extra lemon juice to cover before releasing any air bubbles, then seal.
Leave the jar(s) out at room temperature, and out of direct sunlight for 3 - 4 weeks,
upending them every few days to ensure even curing of the lemons.
The lemons are ready when their peel is soft.
Stored in the fridge once opened will ensure a jar of these culinary delights last a good year
It's February and finally today we are getting a little respite from the hot dry weather January persisted to give us, which was keeping me, at least, feeling very much in a summer holiday mood. Hot weather also makes it easy to eat lighter, fresher, healthier food especially for those of us with vegetable gardens - delicious fresh vegetables of all sorts are demanding to be harvested and eaten!
But vegetables aside, most of us benefit from a healthy protein snack mid afternoon to keep our energy up for the rest of the day.
A couple of days ago I whipped up these nut and seed balls and they have certainly hit the spot for that afternoon need for a "little something", and also turned into a lovely gift in a beautiful jar to take to our hosts for a post party sleepover in Torbay this weekend!
The recipe below used what I had at in my fridge and pantry but by all means use different combinations of nuts and seeds for whatever you may have or like. Any will do.
If you are thinking ahead, it is an exercise in superior nutrition to soak your nuts and seeds (except chia or flax seeds) Cashews for 2 hours; other nuts and seeds for 8+ hours (or overnight). http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/the-benefits-of-soaking-nuts-and-seeds
For this recipe, air dry soaked nuts and seeds before processing or dehydrate in your dehydrator if you have one, otherwise I expect it could get a little sloppy.
Nut and Seed Cocao Energy Balls
The perfect afternoon snack to keep you going to the end of the day with all the energy you need!
Makes approximately 24 balls the size of a large walnut. One ball is a good portion for an adequate serving. 2 is ok if you are extra hungry and on the go.
In the food processor put:
1/2/cup Brazil Nuts
1/2 cup Cashew nuts
1/2 cup Almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons Raw Cacao powder (or Cocoa if that's all you have)
12 pitted Medjooli Dates
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup chia seeds
Process until finely ground and clumping/sticking together.
Roll into balls about the size of a large walnut then roll in finely chopped walnuts or other nut, or shredded coconut.
Keep for 1 week in the fridge, if you think there is a chance of that!
Great for the kids lunchbox.
These also freeze well
... and we wish you a wonderful and safe long weekend.
If you're staying at home this weekend, or heading out to friends for dinner or a bbq, why not try this delicious recipe out for size?
Salmon Fillet with pungent Asian Sauce
Meryn Wakelin is a Naturopath, Medical Herbalist, Nutrition Consultant (and passionate cook of all good food) with clinics in Pukekohe and Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand.