raw food

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!  

Moroccan Preserved Lemons w/ Only 2 Ingredients Read More »

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.

Raw Apple Candy Bites (2 Ingredients) Read More »