A staple in Moroccan cuisine, preserved lemons are an easy way to add intense citrusy flavor to everything from tagines to pastas to hearty grain salads. If you find them salty, you can give them a rinse before chopping and adding to your recipes. Check the lemons every couple of days as they’re fermenting to ensure they’re submerged in the brine – this is key for softening the peel.
2 tbsp high-quality sea salt (such as Himalayan or Celtic salt), divided
1 16-oz wide-mouth glass jar with lid, sterilized
1 small glass jar with lid (4-oz or 8-oz), sterilized (NOTE: Jar should be narrow enough to fit inside rim of 16-oz jar.)
Without cutting into flesh, trim both tips of 3 lemons. Arrange 1 trimmed lemon with 1 cut side down. Carefully slice almost but not all the way through to bottom of lemon. Turn lemon 90 degrees and slice almost but not all the way through to bottom of lemon. Repeat with remaining trimmed lemons.
Sprinkle 1 tsp salt into center of each cut lemon. Arrange 1 cut lemon, cut side down, in a 16-oz wide-mouth glass jar. Using a spoon, press firmly on lemon to squeeze out juice. Sprinkle 1 tsp salt over top of lemon. Repeat with remaining cut lemons and salt, stacking lemons in jar.
Juice remaining 2 lemons and pour juice into jar. Fill a small glass jar with water and seal tightly with lid. Place in 16-oz jar over top of lemons to keep lemons submerged in liquid. Place 16-oz jar in a shallow bowl to catch any overflow and cover with a clean tea towel. Let ferment in a cool place away from direct sunlight for 4 to 6 weeks.
Remove small jar. Seal 16-oz jar tightly with lid and refrigerate for up to 12 months.
Modern-day Italians serve cornmeal-based polenta as a simple side or hearty entrée, enriched with cheeses and herbs. Offering yet another take on the classic, our polenta is used to create a soft crust for a winter vegetable pie.
Soda that’s good for you? Yes, please! The key to making this gut-healthy drink is to start with a ginger bug. Similar in concept to a sourdough starter, a ginger bug is a fermented mixture of fresh ginger, evaporated cane juice and water, and it’s what gives homemade sodas a refreshing natural fizziness. The time it takes for the soda to fully ferment depends on the temperature in your home – if it’s warmer, 2 days should do it, but you might need up to 10 days if your home is on the cooler side.
Health benefit: Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, an important antioxidant for immune and skin health, but the real supernutrients in citrus lie in its flavonoids, which are found in the peel and pith. Studies have found that citrus flavonoids help repair DNA damage, lower cholesterol and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Grain salads are fast and fantastic grab-and-go options for lunch or dinner. Toss your leftover cooked grains in your favorite homemade vinegar-based dressing. Pair with a protein of your choice, add grated veggies and fresh herbs, and top with avocado and toasted nuts and seeds. To get a jump start on the week’s meals, premake three portions of your favorite grain salad recipe using three 1-liter Mason jars. Preassemble this CBLT (coconut bacon, romaine lettuce and cherry tomato) grain salad for lunches or a quick dinner.
Health benefit: Fermented foods are full of probiotics, but in order to keep gut bacteria balanced, you also need prebiotics, or nondigestible carbohydrates that feed probiotics, like the inulin found in asparagus. This makes fermented asparagus a superfood for digestive and immune system health to help keep your body strong and disease-free all winter long.