Adding sunshine to your meal

One of the best ways I know of to keep myself eating foods that enhance my overall health is to make them really, really tasty. Food I make myself is competing with food other people make me, and they usually get to rely on sugar, simple carbohydrates, convenience, and doing the dishes for me to make their meals especially enticing. So, me-made food sometimes has to be super-shiny, really flavorful, and reasonably simple.

Enter the preserved lemon.

This is a food I learned to make last winter, and I've been waiting impatiently for lemons (good, organic lemons by the bagful) to come into season again so I can make plenty more. They're just organic lemons quartered and squished with generous sprinklings of non-iodized salt, like sea salt or kosher salt. The salt makes the environment inhospitable for food-rotting bacteria and delightful and comfortable for food-preserving bacteria (yep, that's SCIENCE right there, y'all).

After a few weeks in the fridge, the lemon peels (you just pull off the pulp when you use them) become something wonderful, like adding superpowered, lemon-flavored sunshine to your diet. Completely edible as they are, we chop up preserved peels and put them into any dish calling for the addition of lemon or lemon juice, from fish to hummus. Once you start down preserved lemon lane on the internet, you'll start to find a bunch of delicious Mediterranean (especially North African) recipes that call for them. Hence the many, many jars I will be filling this week.

Yep, take-out is delicious. Enlist the help of your tastebuds to remind your brain that you-made food is not only delicious, but can be a better choice for your health. And if you're kitchen-phobic or -averse but want to make your own preserved lemons, I'm always happy to help!