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Why your Dessert Badly Needs Preserved Lemons



Sweet things often taste even better with a little zing from fresh lemon. Preserved lemon is even better because in addition to the zing, it has a salty flavor that rounds off the sweetness. 

Whether you love cheesecake, custard pie, pound cake, or ice cream for dessert, adding some preserved lemon to it will take it to another level. 

Once you start using preserved lemon in your dishes, it is impossible to go back to life without it. Preserved lemon makes desserts better and works well even in savory dishes like roasts, salads, chicken, and pastas.

Folding chunks of preserved lemon into your cake batter makes it ultimately better. 

What is Preserved Lemon

Preserved lemon is made by fermenting whole lemons until they are soft, and salting them. Preserved lemons are incredibly popular in Morocco, Tunisia, Iran, North African, Israeli, and Turkish menus.

Preserved lemon is called lemon pickle in India, where they season it with chili powder, turmeric, as well as cumin, etc.

They chop the lemons whole and seed them before fermenting and seasoning them. You can stir the condiment into most dishes that require fresh lemon. 

They offer a more complex flavor than the usual fresh lemon. Even after you are done making preserved lemons, you can use the remaining brine to cook. It is heavily seasoned and still carries a mild taste of lemon. 

Baked goods like sugar cookies and cakes often have a whiff of lemon. You can safely assume that any cake recipe can do well with some lemon zest. But it is not advisable to do that. 

Lemon gives sweet things a tangy flavor. Preserved lemon is just like fresh lemon but with more punch. 

Desserts with savory ingredients inside them are a delight. Tahini was a trend for a while. The sesame paste tastes something close to peanut butter without salt. And it appears quite frequently in baked goods. 

Pound cakes and cookies taste rather pleasant when cooked with some miso paste. Ice cream does well with the salty flavor of fish sauce caramel, and brownie cookies are amazing with tangy sumac baked in. 

You may have noticed chili powder in some sweet treats of late and even cardamom is giving cinnamon a run for its money by flavoring cookies, buns, and cakes all over the United States. 

Preserved lemon is quite possibly the next big thing in savory seasonings flavoring sweet treats. You can try out different ways of incorporating lemon into a baked good. But a good way to start is to work with recipes that contain fresh lemon and substitute the fresh lemon with preserved lemon. 

You can even preserve other citrus juices with preserved lemon. 

Chopped preserved lemon will give you a different texture from lemon juice, but it won’t make a significant difference otherwise. Your cake or custard will still come out delicious. 

You can use lemon juice in addition to preserved lemon. And you definitely want to reduce the amount of salt you add into the batter because preserved lemon already has salt. 

You have the option of preparing preserved lemon yourself, or buying some ready-made from the store. Most stores sell preserved lemon whole. Mina is one of my favorite brands, as is Tara Kitchen. Preserved lemon paste is also a thing. You can go for that as well. Some cooks prefer preserved Meyer lemon paste, but that is a little harder to find in the store than regular preserved lemon. Tart is a vinegar company that produces it in small batches. It works beautifully in baking.  


Ten Chefs Reveal Their Favorite Condiments




In the world of culinary arts, the right condiment can transform a dish from ordinary to extraordinary. From the tangy bite of mustard to the umami depth of soy sauce, condiments are the unsung heroes of the kitchen. Recently, ten renowned Australian chefs shared their go-to condiments, revealing the secret ingredients that elevate their culinary creations. These chefs, each with their unique style and preferences, offer a glimpse into the diverse world of flavors that define contemporary Australian cuisine.

Dan Hong: Kombu Tsuyu

Dan Hong, the executive chef at several Sydney eateries and host of The Streets Hong Kong on SBS on Demand, swears by kombu tsuyu. This Japanese-style soy sauce, enriched with kombu and bonito, is both sweet and lower in salt compared to regular soy sauce. Hong prefers the Yamasa brand for its versatility, using it as a base for noodle dishes, dressings, and even to season broths. “If instant noodles turn out too watery, a splash of kombu tsuyu restores their depth,” he explains. His children enjoy it mixed with rice, sesame oil, and seaweed, calling it “tasty rice” (The Guardian).

Karen Martini: Yuzu Kosho

Karen Martini, cookbook author and culinary director at Saint George restaurant in Melbourne, is passionate about yuzu kosho, a paste made from yuzu zest and chili. Martini began experimenting with this condiment when fresh yuzu became available in Melbourne, creating versions with mandarin and red chili. Traditionally served with rich meats or sashimi, Martini enjoys it with roast duck and grilled seafood. “I recently incorporated it into quickly stir-fried cabbage cooked in bacon fat,” she shares (The Guardian).

Alejandro Huerta: Valentina Hot Sauce

Alejandro Huerta, head chef and co-owner of Comedor wine bar in Sydney, brings a taste of Mexico to Australia with Valentina hot sauce. This spicy and tangy sauce, made from vinegar, garlic, and chilies, is a staple on restaurant tables in Mexico. Huerta fondly recalls packing a small container of it in his lunch as a child to enjoy with jicama or cucumber. “Living in Australia, I frequent the cinema weekly and have missed that flavor combination, so my wife brings a bottle of Valentina along for our popcorn,” he reveals (The Guardian).

Stephanie Feher: Lee Kum Kee Chiu Chow Chili Oil

Stephanie Feher, cook and Instagram influencer at Dragon Sup Club, favors Lee Kum Kee Chiu Chow chili oil. Known for its balanced flavor, this chili oil complements a variety of dishes without overwhelming them. Feher appreciates its straightforward ingredients: soybeans, garlic, chili peppers, sugar, sesame seeds, and MSG. “I enjoyed it in hot pot yesterday, and it works wonders on pizza, in dumpling dipping sauces, and with creamy dishes like burrata,” she says (The Guardian).

Neil Perry: Horseradish Cream

Neil Perry, chef-owner of Margaret restaurant in Sydney, enjoys topping his steak with horseradish cream. This condiment adds a hint of heat and creaminess that complements the flavors of dry-aged steak without overshadowing them. Perry makes this condiment by grating fresh horseradish and blending it with mayonnaise and whipping cream. “It offers a subtle flavor with a pleasant warmth,” he notes (The Guardian).

Bart Jr: Sambal Oelek

At Bart Jr, sambal oelek, an Indonesian chili paste, is the most frequently used condiment. This fermented chili paste adds a delightful kick to various dishes. The chefs at Bart Jr appreciate its ability to enhance flavors without overpowering them, making it a versatile addition to their culinary arsenal (The Guardian).

The Importance of Condiments in Culinary Arts

Condiments play a crucial role in the culinary arts, offering chefs a way to enhance and balance flavors. According to the Food Network, condiments like Kewpie mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and Red Boat fish sauce are essential in many professional kitchens. These condiments provide chefs with the tools to create complex flavor profiles that delight the palate.

Training and Expertise of Australian Chefs

Becoming a chef in Australia requires formal qualifications and extensive hands-on experience. Chefs typically complete a Certificate III or IV in Commercial Cookery, often through an apprenticeship, which provides them with the practical skills needed to excel in the kitchen ( This rigorous training ensures that chefs are well-versed in various cooking techniques and knowledgeable about a wide range of ingredients and condiments.


The favorite condiments of these ten Australian chefs highlight the diverse and dynamic nature of contemporary Australian cuisine. From the umami-rich kombu tsuyu to the fiery Valentina hot sauce, these condiments are integral to the chefs’ culinary creations. By sharing their secret ingredients, these chefs offer a glimpse into the flavors that inspire them and the techniques that define their cooking. Whether you’re a home cook or a professional chef, experimenting with these condiments can elevate your dishes and bring new dimensions to your culinary repertoire.

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The Hidden Power of Herbs and Spices: Revolutionizing Food Ingredients for a Healthier Future




In the evolving landscape of the food industry, the spotlight is increasingly falling on the humble herbs and spices. These natural flavor enhancers are proving to be formidable allies in the quest to improve food quality by replacing less desirable ingredients. The latest research and trends highlight how these natural ingredients are stepping up to the plate, not only to enrich flavor but also to offer health benefits, reduce artificial additives, and support sustainable practices.

The Historical Context

Historically, herbs and spices have played a crucial role in culinary traditions across the globe. From the vibrant turmeric used in Indian cuisine to the aromatic basil in Mediterranean dishes, these ingredients have been cherished for their flavor and medicinal properties. However, their role has expanded significantly in recent years, particularly in response to changing consumer preferences and advancements in food technology.

The Shift from Artificial to Natural

The low-fat craze of the 1990s led many food companies to remove saturated fats from their products, often replacing them with sugar and other artificial additives to maintain taste and texture. This shift, however, had unintended health consequences, contributing to the rise in obesity and related diseases. Today, there is a growing demand for natural, healthier alternatives, and herbs and spices are at the forefront of this movement.

Recent studies have demonstrated that herbs and spices can effectively replace artificial additives without compromising on flavor or shelf life. For example, rosemary extract is being used as a natural preservative due to its antioxidant properties, while spices like cinnamon and clove are known for their antimicrobial benefits. This not only enhances the nutritional profile of food products but also aligns with consumer demand for clean labels and transparency in food sourcing.

Enhancing Flavor and Nutrition

One of the significant advantages of using herbs and spices is their ability to enhance the flavor profile of food naturally. Culinary experts and food scientists are exploring how these ingredients can replace high levels of salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats. According to the American Heart Association, reducing sodium intake is crucial for heart health, and herbs and spices offer a flavorful alternative.

For instance, a study published in the Journal of Food Science highlighted that using a blend of herbs and spices can significantly reduce the need for salt without sacrificing taste. This approach is particularly beneficial in processed foods, where high sodium content has been a longstanding issue. Furthermore, spices such as cayenne pepper and ginger are known for their metabolism-boosting properties, adding another layer of health benefits.

The Science Behind the Flavor

The effectiveness of herbs and spices in improving food quality is rooted in their complex chemical compositions. These ingredients are rich in essential oils, antioxidants, and other bioactive compounds that interact synergistically to enhance flavor and provide health benefits. For example, the antioxidant properties of turmeric’s active compound, curcumin, have been extensively researched for their potential anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects.

Moreover, the use of advanced extraction techniques, such as supercritical fluid extraction, has enabled the industry to isolate and concentrate these beneficial compounds more effectively. This not only improves the potency and consistency of herbal extracts but also opens up new possibilities for their application in food products.

Industry Innovations and Applications

The food industry is witnessing a surge in innovations that leverage the power of herbs and spices. Companies are developing new products that cater to health-conscious consumers by incorporating these natural ingredients in various forms, such as powders, extracts, and essential oils. For example, the incorporation of herb and spice blends in snack foods, beverages, and even dairy products is becoming increasingly common.

A notable example is the use of oregano oil in meat products to extend shelf life and enhance safety. According to a report by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, oregano oil’s antimicrobial properties make it an effective natural preservative, reducing the reliance on synthetic additives. Similarly, the beverage industry is exploring the use of spices like ginger and cardamom to create health-boosting drinks that appeal to modern consumers.

Addressing Sustainability and Ethical Sourcing

In addition to health benefits, the use of herbs and spices aligns with broader sustainability and ethical sourcing goals. Many of these ingredients are grown in regions that rely on sustainable agricultural practices, supporting local economies and reducing the carbon footprint associated with food production. The Fair Trade movement, for instance, ensures that herbs and spices are sourced ethically, providing fair wages and improving living conditions for farmers.

The focus on sustainability is also driving research into vertical farming and hydroponic systems for growing herbs in urban settings. This approach not only reduces the environmental impact but also ensures a fresh and consistent supply of high-quality ingredients year-round.

Challenges and Future Prospects

Despite the promising potential of herbs and spices, there are challenges that the industry must address. Ensuring consistent quality and potency, overcoming regulatory hurdles, and managing costs are critical factors that need attention. However, ongoing research and technological advancements are paving the way for overcoming these obstacles.

The future of food looks promising with the integration of herbs and spices. As the industry continues to innovate and adapt, these natural ingredients are set to play a pivotal role in creating healthier, tastier, and more sustainable food products. The synergy between traditional culinary wisdom and modern science is unlocking new possibilities, making it an exciting time for food enthusiasts and health-conscious consumers alike.

In conclusion, the transformative power of herbs and spices in the food industry is undeniable. From enhancing flavor and nutrition to supporting sustainability and ethical sourcing, these ingredients are leading the charge toward a healthier and more responsible food system. As research and innovation continue to unfold, we can expect to see even more creative and beneficial applications of these natural wonders in our daily diets.

For more information on the latest trends and research in food science, visit the Food and Drug Administration and the American Society for Nutrition. These resources provide valuable insights and updates on how the food industry is evolving to meet the needs of today’s health-conscious consumers.

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Sweet Proteins: The Future of Sugar Alternatives




In the quest for healthier food options, the spotlight has recently turned to an innovative category of sweeteners: sweet proteins. A groundbreaking study published in Food Research International delves into the potential of these proteins as a substitute for sugar, focusing on the impact of health-focused messaging in promoting their consumption.

The Sugar Dilemma

Europeans consume an average of 34 kg of sugar annually, more than triple the World Health Organization’s recommendation. This excessive intake is linked to rising obesity rates and other health issues. Despite efforts like taxing sugary foods and beverages, and stricter marketing regulations, sugar consumption remains high.

Enter Sweet Proteins

Sweet proteins, such as thaumatin, offer a promising solution. These proteins are derived from natural sources using precision fermentation, a process involving yeast to express and isolate proteins found in some fruits. Unlike artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame, sweet proteins don’t carry associated health risks and are digestible and non-allergenic.

The Study’s Approach

The study explored how perceptions of health and naturalness influence attitudes toward products containing sweet proteins. Researchers conducted experiments using messages that emphasized either the health benefits or the naturalness of sweet proteins. Participants, aged between 20 and 70, were responsible for household food purchases.

Key Findings

The study revealed that health-related messaging significantly influenced attitudes towards sweet proteins. Participants exposed to health-focused messages showed more favorability towards these proteins compared to those who received messages about their naturalness. This effect was particularly pronounced in individuals with higher body mass index (BMI) levels and those experiencing anticipatory guilt about sugar consumption.

Interestingly, the study also found that people who regularly consume alternative sweeteners responded more positively to the naturalness messaging, possibly due to the anticipatory pleasure of consuming sweeteners.

Implications for Public Health

These findings have significant implications for public health strategies aimed at reducing sugar intake. By effectively framing sweet proteins as a healthy and natural alternative to sugar, it’s possible to influence consumer attitudes and, potentially, their consumption habits.

The Road Ahead

While the study provides valuable insights, the authors acknowledge that changing attitudes may not always lead to altered consumption behaviors. Future research should focus on how these attitudes translate into actual dietary choices.


Sweet proteins emerge as a viable, health-conscious alternative to sugar, with the potential to revolutionize our approach to sweetening foods and beverages. As we continue to explore and understand the best ways to introduce these proteins into the market, they represent a significant step forward in the journey towards healthier eating habits.

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