Preserve the Bounty: August 2010
Fermentation was born of practicality – a way to preserve the harvest of summer well into the deepest and darkest days of winter which may be why fermented foods play such an enormously important role in the traditional culinary practices of cold-climate cultures. Germans revel in sauerkraut, Koreans in kimchi and Russians in sour beets and kvass.
I love making these preserved lemons from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, one of my favourite cookbooks to leaf through. These limes take a few weeks to make, and the original recipe uses lemons. I enjoy making these, a preservation very similar to the Indian pickle, but less spicy and more flavorful. Less oily too as Indian pickles are often preserved in oil. This is the second jar I have in progress, as the first is almost gone. I use preserved limes often … in Chicken Paillard Fried in Cumin Butter, sometimes tossed into the food processor while making Turkish Adana Kebabs, or Indian Chicken Reshmi Kebabs. I love the burst of tangy flavour these limes offer. The red chili enticingly takes the tangy flavours of the lime, and lends back just a slight hint of heat to the limes … well balanced and definitely addictive. I am guilty of often nibbling a bit of lime now and then!
Fermentation is almost a magical effort on behalf of beneficial microbes. With minimal effort, a teeny bit of luck and a lot of patience, these microscopic do-gooders will change sweet to sour and make fresh foods, in all their vitamin- and enzyme-rich glory, last for years.
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