Preserved lemon or lemon pickle is a condiment that is common in the cuisines of Indian subcontinent and Morocco. It’s also found in 18th-century English cuisine. It is also known as “country lemon” and leems. Diced, quartered, halved, or whole lemons are pickled in a brine 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 of the preserved lemon can be used in stews and sauces, but it is the peel (zest and pith together) that is most valued. The flavor is mildly tart but intensely lemony. Pickled limes are sometimes eaten alone, as a snack. They are also an ingredient in the preparation of some sweet relishes.
Pieces 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. The pickled pulp and liquid can be used in Bloody Marys and other beverages where lemon and salt are used.
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.
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