Preserved lemon or lemon pickle is a condiment
A condiment is an edible substance, such as sauce or seasoning, added to food to impart a particular flavor, enhance its flavor, or in some cultures, to complement the dish. Many condiments are available packaged in single-serving sachets , like mustard or ketchup, particularly when supplied with...
that is common in Indian Cuisine
Indian cuisine consists of thousands of regional cuisines which date back thousands of years. The dishes of India are characterised by the extensive use of various Indian spices, herbs, vegetables and fruit. Indian cuisine is also known for the widespread practice of vegetarianism in Indian society...
, especially South Indian cuisine and also in North African cuisine
North African cuisine
North Africa, the northernmost part of Africa along the Mediterranean Sea includes the nations of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia...
, especially Moroccan cuisine. It is also known as "country lemon" and leems. Diced, quartered, halved, or whole lemons are pickled
Pickling, also known as brining or corning is the process of preserving food by anaerobic fermentation in brine to produce lactic acid, or marinating and storing it in an acid solution, usually vinegar . The resulting food is called a pickle. This procedure gives the food a salty or sour taste...
in a brine
Brine is water, saturated or nearly saturated with salt .Brine is used to preserve vegetables, fruit, fish, and meat, in a process known as brining . Brine is also commonly used to age Halloumi and Feta cheeses, or for pickling foodstuffs, as a means of preserving them...
of water, lemon juice, and salt; occasionally spices are included as well. The pickle is allowed to ferment at room temperature for weeks or months before it is used. The pulp
The juice vesicles of a citrus fruit are the membranous content of the fruit’s endocarp. The vesicles contain the juice of the fruit. The pulp is usually removed from the juice by filtering it out...
of the preserved lemon can be used in stews and sauces, but it is the peel
Peel, also known as rind or skin, is the outer protective layer of a fruit or vegetable which could be peeled off. The rind is usually the botanical exocarp, but the term exocarp does also include the hard cases of nuts, which are not named peels since they are not peeled off by hand or peeler, but...
(zest and pith together) that is most valued. The flavor is mildly tart but intensely lemony.
UsagePieces of pickled lemon may be washed before using to remove any surface salt, or blanched to remove more of the salt and bring out the natural mild sweetness. They may then be sliced, chopped, or minced as needed for the texture of the dish. The rind may be used with or without the pulp.
Preserved lemon is the key ingredient in many Moroccan dishes such as tagines. In Cambodian cuisine, it is used in dishes such as Ngam nguv, a chicken soup with whole preserved lemons. They are often combined in various ways with olives, artichokes, seafood, veal, chicken, and rice. Lemon Pickle is a standard accompaniment to curd rice, which is often the last course in South Indian Cuisine
South Indian cuisine
South Indian Cuisine is a term used to refer to the cuisines found in the four southern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.-Similarities and differences in "Four states' cuisines":...
The pickled pulp and liquid can be used in Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary (cocktail)
A Bloody Mary is a popular cocktail containing vodka, tomato juice, and usually other spices or flavorings such as Worcestershire sauce, Peri-Peri Sauce, Tabasco sauce, beef consomme or bouillon, horseradish, celery, olive, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and celery salt...
s and other beverages where lemon and salt are used. The flavor also combines well with horseradish
Horseradish is a perennial plant of the Brassicaceae family, which also includes mustard, wasabi, broccoli, and cabbages. The plant is probably native to south eastern Europe and the Arab World , but is popular around the world today...
, as in American-style cocktail sauce
Cocktail sauce is one of several types of cold or room temperature sauces often served as part of the dish referred to as seafood cocktail or as a condiment with other seafoods. In America it generally consists of ketchup mixed with prepared horseradish. Some restaurants use chili sauce, a spicier...
In Ayurvedic cuisine, lemon pickle is a home remedy for stomach disorders and its value is said to increase as it matures. In East African folk medicine, lemon pickle is given for excessive growth of the spleen
The spleen is an organ found in virtually all vertebrate animals with important roles in regard to red blood cells and the immune system. In humans, it is located in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen. It removes old red blood cells and holds a reserve of blood in case of hemorrhagic shock...
HistoryHistorically, pickling was an affordable and practical method of preserving lemons for use long after their season and far away from where they are grown. Early 19th century English, American, and (in translation) Indian cookbook
A cookbook is a kitchen reference that typically contains a collection of recipes. Modern versions may also include colorful illustrations and advice on purchasing quality ingredients or making substitutions...
s give recipes for lemon pickle and mention its use in sauces for salmon
Salmon is the common name for several species of fish in the family Salmonidae. Several other fish in the same family are called trout; the difference is often said to be that salmon migrate and trout are resident, but this distinction does not strictly hold true...
Veal is the meat of young cattle , as opposed to meat from older cattle. Though veal can be produced from a calf of either sex and any breed, most veal comes from male calves of dairy cattle breeds...
, etc.; dishes where today fresh lemon zest and/or juice would be used.
An early 19th century recipe is as follows:
A similar recipe appears in Mary Randolph
Mary Randolph wrote The Virginia House-Wife , one of the most influential housekeeping and cook books of the nineteenth century...
's 1824 cookbook. Similar recipes appear also in still earlier cookbooks, such as the 18th century cookbook by English former housekeeper Elizabeth Raffald. Some recipes involve first grating or thinly peeling the lemons, and reserving the peels. Peels (zest) were dried for later use.
- Chanh muối
- Fruit preservesFruit preservesFruit preserves are preparations of fruits and sugar, often canned or sealed for long-term storage. The preparation of fruit preserves today often involves adding commercial or natural pectin as a gelling agent, although sugar or honey may be used, as well. Prior to World War II, fruit preserve...
- Zest (ingredient)Zest (ingredient)Zest is a food ingredient that is prepared by scraping or cutting from the outer, colorful skin of citrus fruits such as lemon, orange, citron, and lime. Zest is used to add flavor to foods....