MOROCCAN LEMONS

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    BM59_Fan
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    Moroccan Lemons are another fermented food that has benefits way beyond the simple act of storing foods for future use.

    The ability to make Moroccan Preserved Lemons gives us a food that is not only survival oriented like other fermented foods, as it produces produce enzymes (specially energized molecules used for digestion and other metabolic processes), natural antibiotics, and anti-carcinogenic compounds, BUT also gives us all a way of storing lemons for a long time.

    MOROCCAN PRESERVED LEMON

    Moroccan Preserved lemons
    5-6 Lemons or more as desired
    1 Lbs. Salt, more if desired
    1 Cinnamon stick
    1/4 Cup Bay leaves
    1/4 Cup of vegetable oil
    Spring water

    Quarter the lemons from the top to within 1/2 inch of the bottom. Gently spread them without breaking the bottom and pack them with salt and then reshape the fruit.

    Place 1 tablespoon salt on the bottom of a sterilized one pint mason jar.

    Pack in the lemons and push them down, adding more salt and the optional other spices, between layers. Press the lemons down to release their juices and to make room for the remaining lemons. Cover the lemons with the spring water and leave enough space for the oil.

    Pour the vegetable oil and seal the jar. Note: The vegetable oil is optional as it has no effect on the actual flavoring except that it works as a seal and protects the lemons from air contact during the preservation time, additional lemon juice or pure water will also have the same affect.

    Let the lemons ripen in a cool dry and dark area for at least 30 days before reopening.

    To use, rinse the lemons, as needed, under running water, remove the pulp if desired.

    Preserved lemons, sold loose in the markets (Souks) of Morocco, are one of the indispensable ingredients of Moroccan cooking, used in fragrant lamb and vegetables Tagines, recipes for chicken with lemons and olives, and salads. Their unique pickled taste and special silken texture cannot be duplicated with fresh lemon or lime juice.

    Sometimes you will see a sort of lacy, white substance clinging to preserved lemons in their jar; it is perfectly harmless, but should be rinsed off for aesthetic reasons just before the lemons are used. Preserved lemons are rinsed, in any case, to rid them of their salty taste.

    Cook with both pulps and rinds, if desired

    There is no need to refrigerate after opening. Preserved lemons will keep up to a year, and the pickling juice can be used two or three times over the course of a year.

    Tagines are Moroccan slow-cooked meat, fruit & vegetable dishes which are almost invariably made with lamb. Although not authentic, beef can be used as a substitute and turns out great as well

    The fermented lemon peel can also be used for fantastic deserts. My German grandma used the Moroccan Lemon and made some of the best lemon pie I have ever had. She used to consistently win first place at the Los Angeles County Fair Pie competition.

    Her additions to the mix were:
    whole pepper corns, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, and dried chillies

    Background: History is not so much the story of great men as it is the story of outstanding foods and diseases. We know about Captain Cook because he took sauerkraut on his second round the-world trip. As a result, he and his crew did not suffer from scurvy, that devastating disease of sea voyages. The cabbage of his kraut was preserved by lacto-fermentation, a process of natural preservation revered for centuries before modern methods of pickling in vinegar or canning. This kraut was not only effective against scurvy; it kept through the whole voyage.

    The advantage of modern food preservation lies in convenience plus a reliable flavor and consistency. Lacto-fermentation, however, is valuable for its enhanced health benefits. Modern techniques are based on sterilization. Lacto-fermentation is driven by beneficial, soil borne bacteria (lacto-bacilli) which:

    A. break down the food, thus making it more digestible.
    B. manufacture vitamins, increasing the nutritive value of the preserved food.
    C. produce enzymes (specially energized molecules used for digestion and other metabolic processes).
    D. produce natural antibiotics that protect the food from putrefying bacteria.
    E. produce anti-carcinogenic compounds.
    F. produce lactic acid.

    Both lactic acid and vinegar preserve food by making it more acidic. Unlike vinegar, lactic acid regulates the pH of stomach acids, which tear down our food. Lactic acid then activates the metabolic processes that re-synthesize those nutrients into new, living substances the body can use.

    Lacto-fermented foods are not only a good source of beneficial bacteria for our intestinal tract, they also taste good.

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