Moroccan Preserved Lemons w/ Only 2 Ingredients

Have you ever wanted to make a recipe, only to realize it requires a special ingredient?  You drive to three stores across town and no one has it.  Then you go home, look it up on Google, and it’s ridiculously simple to make.  Yep, that’s Moroccan Preserved Lemons.  So hard to find, yet so easy to make.  It only requires a little bit of prep work and time.   Salt Typically, I don’t count salt as an ingredient.  Every home has it.  But in this case, I felt it was only right to count it because this recipe requires a truckload of the stuff.  I typically use kosher salt as it dissolves really well in this recipe.  You can also use sea salt.  If you’re not sure which salt to use, be sure to read my post on Types of Salt. Why So Much Salt? So you may have noticed this recipe calls for an insane amount of salt right?  Well, that’s because we are preserving the lemons, not fermenting them.  We are using the salt to stop any harmful microbes from growing, while preserving the lemons.  So yes, you really do need that much salt.  It keeps those nasty microbes away. What Can I Use Preserved Lemons For? Preserved lemons have been used for hundreds of years in North Africa.  They then spread through the Mediterranean and Middle East.  Moroccan Preserved Lemons originated out of a need to have the taste of fresh lemons all year long.  Shakshuka is one of the most popular dishes that use Preserved Lemons.  This dish is a personal favorite of mine.  But really they can be used in a multitude of dishes.  They have the ability to transform stews, tomato sauce dishes, pizzas, and more!  It’s like lemon’s funky cousin on steroids.  A little goes a long way.  So start with a little and then add more if you like.   What Kind of Lemons Should I Use? Ideally you would use a thin skinned lemon.  The closest variety in the US would be the Meyer Lemon.  However, not only are these hard to find where I live, I have a lemon tree.  It produces more lemons than I can possibly eat.  They are a thicker skinned variety and they work just fine.  So use what you have.  Once you get the hang of it, search out the thin skinned varieties.  See which you like better. Steps First put two tablespoons of kosher salt in the bottom of your jar. Then, cut one lemon to remove the stem end.  The side that would have been connected to the tree.   Once this is done you will need to cut the lemon lengthwise into fourths.  You want to try not to cut the lemon all the way through.  I have attached a picture for easy viewing.  The lemon should end up having an X or + shape pattern lengthwise.   Open the lemon where you made the cuts and put one teaspoon of kosher salt inside the lemons. Give the lemon a bit of a shimmy to move the salt around.  It’s gonna make a mess and that’s fine.  You want as much of the salt inside as possible. Turn the lemon cut side down and place in your mason jar or canning jar.  Give the lemon a firm squeeze to release a lot of the juices.  Try to release as much as you can without breaking the lemon apart. Repeat these steps with each of the lemons.  Place each lemon in the jar making sure to pack them tightly.  Fill almost to the top of the jar leaving about an inch of space.   Once filled, add two tablespoons of kosher salt to the top of jar and close the lid.  If the lemon juice does not go all the way to the top of jar, use additional lemon juice until it covers them. Give the jar a shake and leave it on your counter to rest.  Each day, for seven days, give it a shake.  After seven days, stash it in the fridge.  They won’t be fully cured for 4-6 weeks in the refrigerator.  You can use them earlier but they won’t have the same flavor. How to Use It’s important to realize that when you go to use these, you will need to first rinse the salt off.  Nobody wants that much in a dish.  Second, you will be removing the insides of the lemons.  Third, you are only going to use the peel.  So, once the skin is removed you will chop the peel very fine and add it to your dish.  Super easy! Storage Once everything is in the jar, you will need to shake these once a day for 7 days.  Then they are done.  You will notice the jar goes from clear to cloudy.  That’s totally normal.  Stash in the fridge.  These will last anywhere from 6 months to 1 year in the fridge in an airtight container.  The salt will eventually degrade the lemons and they will get very soft.  At which point I make a new batch. Morrocan Preserved Lemons are great in everything from soups to pilafs. It only needs two ingredients and time to make this umami packed flavor bomb. This recipe is so easy to make you won’t believe you didn’t do it sooner!  

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A jar filled with apple candy bites sits on top of a wooden table. Some of them have spilled out onto the table.

Raw Apple Candy Bites (2 Ingredients)

My favorite thing about these apple candies (other than eating them) is the way they make your house smell.  The incredible scent of vanilla will be everywhere in your home.  This recipe only requires two ingredients to make an addictive “candy”.  The secret to these Raw Apple Candy Bites is the vanilla.  Yes, you really are going to use that much of it!  It transforms these otherwise simple candies into something magical.  I actually can’t keep these for more than a day or two in my house.  The three pounds I made for this post lasted exactly one day.  Seriously!  They have the chew and texture of candies with none of the artificial stuff. These are nutrient dense snacks that are healthy and taste good.  Your kids will love them and so will you. Peeling These require peeling your apples.  I highly recommend using an apple peeler.  You can use a vegetable peeler as well.  However, even with a big batch of apples, this will only make a small amount of candy.  Three pounds yields about 16oz.  So you will do a lot of peeling.  An apple peeler makes a world of difference.  Plus, it gives you an excuse to make apple pie. Chopping It’s very important to make sure that you chop these as uniform as possible.  The closer in size the pieces are the better.  Keeping them about the same size will help them to dehydrate at the same speed.  If you make a lot of different sizes you will have to take some out early and leave some in longer.   Dehydrators This recipe requires a dehydrator.  I really prefer a dehydrator with a thermostat on it.  My favorite are the Excalibur Dehydrators.  A lot of dehydrators get way too hot for this recipe.  But if that’s all you have, go for it.  The apples won’t be quite as chewy.  But they will still taste great.  I haven’t put these in the oven so I don’t currently have an option for that.  If someone wants to do it and post it in the comments section for the rest of us, feel free.   Vanilla Use the best quality vanilla you can afford or find.  This recipe is really all about the vanilla.  Do not use vanillin or artificial vanilla which is made from things like old wood.  Remember the simpler the recipe the better your ingredients should be.   Apples I have tried this recipe with every kind of apple and it tastes good with all of them.  Use your favorite variety and you can’t go wrong.  Granny Smiths will have a more sour candy flavor, while red apples will provide more sugar content for a sweeter candy. Final Thoughts These Raw Apple Candy Bites are great eaten as is.  I secretly eat them like popcorn during my favorite movie.  However, they are also wonderful additions to trail mixes, in lunch boxes for snacks and in muffins.  This recipe is a great way to introduce kids to a non candy alternative.  For other kid friendly recipes, be sure to check out my Strawberry Delight Lassi. I hope you and your family enjoy this recipe.  Let me know what you think.   This incredibly easy recipe is vegan, paleo, raw and dairy free. It’s so easy to make and tastes incredible. You just need apples and vanilla.

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A bowl of strawberries sits next to a tall glass filled with strawberry lassi in it. They both sit on a place mat made of wicker on top of a colorful tablecloth.

Strawberry Delight Lassi-A Kid Approved Smoothie

  When I declared my intentions of writing a blog to my family I was told that this recipe had to be on it.  This simple Strawberry Delight Lassi recipe is a fan favorite in my house.  Hopefully it will be in yours as well.  This tastes just like a strawberries and cream popsicle only much healthier for you and your family.   What is a Lassi A Lassi if you haven’t heard of it is a creamy yogurt based drink much like a smoothie.  It originated in India.  This recipe is simple, tasty and easy to whip up.  It’s raw and filled with gut friendly probiotics.  This is a great recipe to get kids started on both smoothies as well as the spice cardamom.  Kids really like it as it has a milk shake consistency.  The secret to this recipe is the cardamom.  It doesn’t add tons in the way of spice.  It just helps the strawberry taste more like strawberry.  I added raw honey but I know it won’t be sweet enough for some.  Make it as is and then feel free to add Stevia or another sweetener of your choosing if you need more sugar. To Dairy or Not to Dairy In our home only some can eat dairy so this Strawberry Delight Lassi recipe is dairy free.  However, you could easily swap it for the dairy version.  I think the dairy free version tastes fabulous as long as you get a good quality, dairy free yogurt.  If you have one you love, use that.  Otherwise my two favorite brands are the Kite Hill brand and Trader Joes new cashew alternative brand.  They both taste great in this recipe and have minimal ingredients and fillers.  I use the plain versions. What is Acerola The acerola purée is probably a little hard to find for some of you.  Acerola is a cherry sized tropical fruit.  It’s super high in vitamin C.  One serving provides over 1000% of your daily needs.  It adds just the right amount of tart without changing the flavor drastically.  I have had the best success finding it in the natural grocery store freezer section.  If you can’t find it at the store, it is available HERE in bulk.  I would definitely try to find it in the store first.   If you can’t find it you can swap it for mangos.  Mangos are a very traditional choice for lassi’s.  They also pair wonderfully with cardamom.  Just know it won’t taste the same as the acerola.  But, it’s still wonderful.    A Word About Cardamom This is a great recipe If you have never used cardamom.  If you think you’ve never tasted it, you probably have and just didn’t know it.  It’s what makes Chai Tea taste like Chai Tea.  Cardamom is the fruit of a herbaceous perennial plant from the ginger family.  It smells and tastes like camphor, but it a good way.  It’s a strong herb that provides a lot of flavor using only small amounts. You can purchase these pre-shelled and ground.  But I personally think the flavor is pretty lousy.  Not to mention the shelf life on ground cardamom is almost non-existent.  Whole cardamom pods will last through a zombie apocalypse as long as you store them remotely well (airtight container).  I like to use a mortar and pestle to crack them.  But if you don’t have one, you can use a heavy bottomed glass cup.  Smack them on the counter a few times until they crack.  Then remove the seeds inside.  If you have a mortar and pestle, you can grind them to a powder.  It will make the consistency smoother.  If not, just place the seeds in your blender.  As long as your blender has a decent motor, it should be fine. There is a huge difference in both the size and types of cardamom pods available on the market.  I have seen them very small and very large.  I adjusted the number of pods to reflect that.  Start with just a few for your first smoothie as you can always add more later.  You can’t take it out once it’s in.  Use wisely my friends. Final Thoughts I hope you like this Strawberry Delight Lassi as much as we do.  If you like this recipe be sure to check out my super easy Ginger Ale Syrup recipe.  Your family will love it!  It would make a wonderful sweetener for this smoothie.  Feel free to post your favorite Lassi recipe down in the comments section below. This kid approved lassi originates from India. It’s a simple five ingredient smoothie tastes like strawberries and cream. It’s dairy free and so easy to make you be blending it up every day. This recipe can easily be made vegan.  

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A bowl of pickled onions sitting on a table

My Favorite Raw Pickled Red Onion Recipe

I fell in love with onions on a trip abroad many years ago. Everywhere we went they had cheese and onion sandwiches. Sounds gross, I know. But we got so many of them we fell in love with them.  Fast forward to my pregnancy years later and I could no longer eat onions. Not red or white. This went on for years. It didn’t matter if you cooked them or they were raw. I would always get sick to my stomach.  Now many years later I still can’t eat them raw. I can however eat raw pickled onions. This recipe is such a quick and simple raw version of Quick Pickled Red Onions. It requires almost no ingredients and can be made the night before. It is gut friendly because of the apple cider vinegar and raw honey. It makes the onions easier to digest. I’m going to include instructions for the raw version as well as a faster blanched version to save time. Recommendations and Adjustments When I make this I use raw honey as the sweetener. It just ups the nutritional factor. It changes the flavor in a way I really like as well.  It’s also another food that is alive. Which is so very important to our bodies. I tried to balance the vinegar with the sweetness. You could adjust this anywhere from 1 TBS to 2 TBS depending on how sweet you like your pickles.  Finally I recommend using kosher salt. Kosher salt is best in this recipe as it dissolves rapidly without applying tons of heat. Other salts will work but may be gritty. Try to find a finely ground one so that it will dissolve easier.  If you are unsure on which Type of Salt to use be sure to read my post all about salts HERE. Once you slice the onion thinly put it in your favorite canning jar.  I prefer a wide mouth jar for this application.  Add all the other ingredients to a separate pot and turn the stove on for one minute. Just long enough to warm them but not cook them. Stir everything well to dissolve. If you have a little salt at the bottom it’s fine. Add this liquid to your onions. Lid up and stash in the fridge 1-3 days for best results.   Vegan Option To make this vegan replace the honey with organic cane sugar or maple syrup.  It will alter the flavor of the final product depending on which you use.  Sugar will be more neutral than the maple syrup. Raw or Quick If the raw factor doesn’t matter to you or you just need these done fast for a gathering, follow the above recipe. Instead of leaving them on the stove for a minute, turn the heat on medium and bring all the ingredients to a simmer. Then pour over the onions while still hot. Leave 15 minutes and then you are done.  I’ve made this recipe both ways and it works just fine. This recipe will keep in the fridge for a month or more.  I can’t keep it in the house longer than that.  It gets eaten to fast.  You can also reuse the brine several times before it loses quality.  Just get more onions and repeat.  Super easy. This recipe is raw, paleo, dairy free, vegetarian and can easily be made vegan.  Put it on anything and everything.  It’s good on tacos, in burritos, hamburgers, poutine, egg dishes, Pozole, soups and stews.  Let me know what you use it on.  If you make any mods that are amazing,  I’d love to know. This is an easy to make Pickled Red Onion Recipe. It has only three ingredients and can easily be made vegan. These pickled onions are great on everything from hotdogs to tacos.

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Different Glass Fermentation Weights being displayed to show the differences.

What are Fermentation Weights and How To Use Them?

  So if you haven’t already guessed it, I am a big fan of fermentation.  We spend so much time buying supplements like probiotics to keep us healthy.  We forget many times that food is medicine.  When we make our own live ferments, the probiotics are fresh and very alive.  The problem is fermenting has rules.  That’s where fermentation weights come in. What Are Fermentation Weights? Fermentation weights are simply a heavy, non porous object that weighs your food that is fermenting down.  Food that is exposed to oxygen breeds bacteria and mold.  So pushing your food under the brine or liquid you are using keeps it free from those elements.  This allows the healthy bacteria to do there job without exposing you to the nastys. You could use anything for this job.  Something as primitive as a sanitized rock a plastic bag will work.  Many people use plastic bag filled with water as a weight.  I have tried them all and while they are mostly successful, they are not my favorite way. Types of Weights We are only going to talk about a few easy to find, easy to use weights in this post.  They are: Glass Fermentation Weights (No Handles) Glass Fermentation Weights (With Handles) Stoneware Weights   Glass Fermentation Weights (No Handles) Glass fermentation weights without handles look like glass hockey pucks.  They are a solid piece of glass with the edges smoothed.  The pros to this style are that they are extremely easy to clean.  They can be ordered in both wide mouth and standard mouth jars.  You can purchase in bulk so if you do a lot of fermenting like I do, you can save money by buying more at once.  These have come down quite a lot in price since I purchased them years ago.  So a bulk pack of six fermentation weights without handles is under $20.  The cons to this style is that they are very slippery.  I mean very slippery.  It’s like trying to grab a fish out of a pond.  Also, they are not dishwasher safe as my husband can attest to.  But other than that they work well. Glass Fermentation Weights (With Handles) Glass fermentation weights with handles come in several designs.  They are made so that they can be easily picked up out of the jar without too much difficulty.  The kind I have are made with grooves in them for easy pick up.  But they also manufacture ones with a little handle.   Here’s the problem I have with these.  First, they are no more easy to get out of the jar than the flat disks.  Once, they are wet it’s still a slippery piece of glass.  Second, they cost more and are not significantly more effective.  Third, maybe i am the only person to have this happen to them but I find the grooves get mold trapped in between them.  I have lost several ferments this way.  I find myself turning them upside down to make them flat like my weights without handles.  This prevents the mold but completely defeats having the handle.  Fourth, due to the grooves it’s more challenging to keep clean. Stoneware Fermentation Weights Stoneware fermentation weights are designed for crocks.  They usually come with two half moon shaped pieces that sit inside the crock.  They can be used in any container so if you have one already but don’t have a crock, don’t stress.  The biggest drawback to these is that they are usually quite large because the crocks are bigger than mason jars.  They may not fit a standard size canning jar.  Also these are very expensive because they are made of stone.  They cost on average the same price for one as a pack of six of the glass weights. Final Thoughts If I had to choose just one type of fermentation weight, I would choose the plain glass fermentation weights without handles.  They are inexpensive, easy to clean and reusable for as long as you take care of them.  These work perfectly inside any of the airlock jars or mason jars.  If you haven’t heard of an airlock jar make sure to read my post on them HERE.  While they are a little difficult to remove from their containers, it’s a small price to pay for how well they work. Just make sure to have the right size weight for the right size jar.  Let me know what kind of weights are your favorite.

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A cutting board with date paste and fresh dates on it.

My Favorite One Ingredient Date Paste

Growing up I hated dried fruit.  I wouldn’t touch a raisin if you paid me.  I didn’t like the texture of them and honestly I still don’t.  I really wish I had know about date paste then.  It’s got all of the flavor of dates, with none of the texture. But honestly when I was a kid I thought there was only one kind of date.  The big Medjool you get at the grocery store. You know the large variety that have a caramel like flavor and a chewy inside.  I’ve since learned there are over 200 varieties of them.  We have two favorites in our house.  The Honey Date which tastes like, you guessed it…honey.  The other is the Zahidi which has a sugary flavor and is light.  If you haven’t tried more than one variety I urge you to go out and find some.  They are all wonderful and different in their own special ways. Another variety to consider if you can’t find any of those is is the Deglet.  I mention these because they can easily be found on the internet.  They tend to be a drier variety in my opinion.  But they will still work great for this recipe. What is Date Paste Dates are wonderful in that they can be used for so many different applications.  Everything from wrapping them in bacon to making raw vegan brownies.  Date paste is a wonderful recipe to have in your home.  It is so simple.  Only one ingredient is needed. Dates. Then you just add water and something magical happens. The dates turn into a wonderful paste that can be used in so many applications.  You can put it on toast as a substitute for jam.  You can use it to sweeten cakes and desserts.  You can use it to emulsify salad dressings.  You can dip apples in it for a simple caramel like substitute.  Put it on pancakes.  The possibilities are endless. Pitted Vs. Un-Pitted You can purchase the dates pitted or unpitted.  I have done both and the recipe has come out fine.  Just know that pitted dates don’t last as long and they tend to dry out easier.  However if you purchase unpitted dates you will need to remove both the seed inside and the hard stem on the top of one end if it has one.  They look like a small, hard flat disk.  They are not tasty. If the dates are super fresh and ripe you can just pull them apart by hand.  No need to get a knife out.  If they are on the harder side my tool of choice is a set of sharp kitchen shears.  Just cut along one side and remove the pit. Soaking Raw vs. Hot Water I didn’t set a specific weight on this recipe because it only requires equal parts water to dates for soaking.  Just keep in mind that if you have a very large blender or food processor you will want to use more dates so they don’t jam up your machine. If you choose to do this recipe with hot water, you will only need to soak the dates for about 10 minutes.  If you want to make this a raw recipe then you will want to soak at least an hour or even overnight depending on the dryness of your dates. Processing Once they are soaked, removed the dates to your food processor.  A high powered blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec is best as it will make the smoothest consistency.  But any blender or processor will work.  Just know it may not come out quite as smooth. Turn your machine on to process and add the remaining water a little at a time until to acheive your desired consistency. My dates were so fresh I didn’t even add any and it came out great.  But you may need up to 1/4 or even 1/2 cup of the water if your dates are very dry.  I try to acheive a pudding or preserve like consistency. Don’t throw that leftover water out.  It’s basically a simple syrup and it’s fantastic.  You can use it in smoothies, nut milks, pancake batters, muffins and cakes.  I even thought it might be nice in a cocktail. Once made it will keep in the fridge up to a month.  If you freeze properly it can last a year. Although I’ve never had one last that long.  If you make it, let me know how you use it in your own recipes.  I love finding new ways to use these staple ingredients. One ingredient date paste can be used for many applications

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Fermented Garlic sitting in a bowl on a bamboo plate.

Simple Fermented Chopped Garlic

  I can’t for the life of me remember why I started making this Fermented Chopped Garlic recipe. It could be because it only requires two ingredients, Salt and garlic.  Maybe it’s because I hate messing with and chopping garlic.  It could also be that I forget to purchase it from the store when I run out. This recipe serves all of my lazy girl needs. I only have to make this once every 6 months because it lasts forever in the fridge. Which also means I only have to deal with garlic every six months. Win win. If you don’t wish to deal with fresh garlic at all you can simply purchase the pre-peeled bags of it to make this recipe. I’ve done it. Both ways work. Just know fresher is always going to taste just a little better. In this recipe I use either Kosher Salt or Himalayian Pink Salt.  If you are unsure of which salt to use read my post on Types of Salt.  It will explain more. A Word About Airlock Jars The only piece of hardware I really recommend is an Airlock jar. I have used many different jars for fermentation. Airlock jars are my absolute favorite. My husband handmade mine. But, if you aren’t into that you can simply purchase them on the World Wide Web. If you don’t know which kind of fermentation jars to get be sure to check out my post all about them HERE.  I like to leave this to sit for at least two weeks. But it’s usually longer. The garlic will change in color slowly. It will naturally darken. I’ve had some of it turn green. It’s totally fine as long as its not moldy. This usually has to do with either the age of the garlic or the compounds in the garlic changing from the fermentation process. Make sure not to fill the container less than an inch to the top. The garlic will expand after several days due to the fermentation process. If you over fill the jar, the garlic will attempt to escape your container. This is why I love airlock jars. Most fermentation needs as little air as possible to prevent mold growth. So typically you want your product either submerged under liquid or filled near the top of the jar to prevent oxygen. But with the airlock it removes most of the oxygen due to the expanse of gases pushing more air out of the one way valve without the need for extra food in the jar. It prevents mold and you don’t need to overfill the container.   How to Fill the Bubbler Once you have the product filled make sure to fill the top bubbler to the designated line.  Most people use water which will work fine.  I however, like to use vodka.  Vodka tends to keep it mold free and more sanitary which I’m all about.  For some reason I also find it makes it the airlock work  better. Either way, make sure if you keep the jar fermenting for several weeks you check on the liquid level in the bubbler and refill as needed. Do I Need a Weight for This? So I use fermentation weights for most of my ferments.  This is one of the exceptions.  It is a very dry ferment.  So there is not a lot of liquid.  There really isn’t anywhere for the fermentation weight to go.  So it really isn’t necessary or very functional. Making the Next Batch and Storage Once you have leftover garlic from your first batch, make sure to mix a little with the new one. This will help the fermentation process to go much faster on the next batch. Be aware that when you break the seal to open it, the scent of garlic will knock your socks off. The garlic scent as well as the flavor increases with the fermentation process.  So you can reduce the amount of garlic in your recipes if you like. Storage and Cleanup Once you are all done, store it in the refrigerator and use as needed.  It will keep for around six months.  I recommend keeping one airlock jar just for garlic if you can.  I also recommend hand washing your container and airlocks even if they are dishwasher safe.  If you don’t it will make your dishwasher smell like garlic for a week.   This recipe is easy to double or even triple. I make a pound and a half at a time. Don’t forget to use it to make garlic bread. You’ll never want store bought again.  Fermented Chopped Garlic    

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