Tag Archives: lemons

Citrus chips ahoy!

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I may have finally harvested the last of the Tahitian lime tsunami and the inaugural Rangpur limes but the rest of the citrus is just getting underway. Parrots cheekily taste-testing the sweet-tart Navel oranges that hang on the tree herald their ripeness. The white grapefruit tree is the only citrus fruit we don’t especially like and, of course, it is far and away the biggest, healthiest and most abundant of all the trees. Late harvest Valencia oranges are still a way off, the lemon tree was a fizzer this year and the mandarins are losing the last of their green bottoms and should sweeten up to be ready any day now.

So I wanted to find another large-scale use for all this beautiful fruit. I had an idea for citrus chips. I wasn’t sure if they were a “thing” or not, but it turns out they are dead easy to make and ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! My google searching revealed a smattering of recipes but after trying a time-consuming oven-baked version, I ended up doing my own thing and put my trusty dehydrator to good use again.

I recently purchased a deli slicer, primarily for slicing bulk meat, but it worked a treat on the citrus, slicing them into uniformly thin rings. I dusted the limes, lemons and grapefruit with icing sugar and left the sweet oranges unadulterated. About 10 hours later (overnight), we had crispy citrus chips that hit you with a sweet sour tang and have a wonderful crunch.

Beyond being a simple, healthy and delicious snack, they look sensational as a garnish floating on the surface of a Rangpur lime gimlet and as a cake topper. I took them to a recent Hills Permaculture pruning workshop where they were a hit with adults and kids alike.

I love discovering new ways to use my garden gluts because for me, my favourite type of cooking always starts in the garden.

Catching the fermenting bug (microbiome)

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Recently, I’ve been enamoured with the idea of fermenting, namely for its incredible health benefits and also the practical solution it offers for garden gluts and waste minimisation (another current obsession of mine, but more on that later) . So I bought the seminal book on the subject: “The Art of Fermentation” by Sandor Katz, a guy often referred to as the Godfather of fermenting and a self-described “fermentation revivalist”. I’m only two chapters in, but what a tome of delicious information!

Singularly impatient to my core, while waiting for the book to arrive in the post, I planted out an entire garden bed of cabbage seedlings in anticipation of the oodles of sauerkraut I was going to make, and then bought two practice cabbages from the shops (purple and green). In the meantime, I finally got along on Sunday morning to my local Hills Food Share run by Mundaring in Transition where I got talking to an avid fermentationalist (did I just coin a new word?) who offered to drop a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) around to my house later that day so I could try making Kombucha (fermented tea). So Sunday was Fermentation Day, like it or not. Actually reading the book would have to wait.

Sweet sauerkraut

I knew my son, Hugo, would be delighted to help with the sauerkraut when I told him he could “bash the cabbage”. So we set up on the outside table (good call) and proceeded to bash, pound and squeeze the living daylights out of three large bowls of salted cabbage, which Hugo was fascinated and a little perplexed to discover quickly shrunk to one large jarful. On a whim a fortnight before, I’d bought a Kilner fermentation set from my favourite local store, Wasteless Pantry, so I was ready to go. The resulting mix is quite pretty and looks fabulous sitting up on the bookshelf near my kitchen where I can keep a close eye on it.

SCOBY Dooby Doo makes kombucha

True to his word, Danny, my new local fermenting friend, dropped by mid-afternoon with a cream-coloured disc floating in brown vinegary liquid, which enthralled Hugo when I told him it was ALIVE. He is now calling it SCOBY Dooby Doo and is acting like it’s his new pet, saying goodnight to it and talking to it when he gets home from school…that kid, he’s awesome! He also helped me make our first batch of Kombucha with English Breakfast tea, rapadura sugar and SCOBY Dooby Doo. Let the magic begin!

Preserved lemons

I was on a roll, so why stop there? There’s nothing like inspiration for doing something fun to motivate myself to quit procrastinating on that work project. I needed to finish it today before I could spend a guilt-free afternoon playing in my kitchen. Check.

I found a Jamie Oliver recipe for Lime Pickle that I wanted to try. I’m currently drowning under a deluge of fruit from my ridiculously abundant Tahitian Lime tree, so I’ve been looking for any and all recipes in which to use them. The recipe called for preserved lemons in addition to limes, which I did not have. However, I had gladly swapped a basketful of limes for a handful of lemons at the Food Swap on Sunday (my lemon tree is located on our rental property and suffered from a lack of water this summer, hence I am suffering from a dearth of lemons.) So first I had to make preserved lemons! I found a recipe on the SBS website of all places and it looks great.

What I didn’t think through was the obvious fact that preserved lemons need to sit and sog for about a month…er, no Lime Pickle anytime soon then? Not to be thwarted, I found a recipe for Chocolate Chip and Lime Biscuits and so made them instead. A double batch only used a measly two limes (of zest) but damn, they tasted delicious!

I see Key Lime Pie in our future…