Have you ever thought of a black lemon-What does it mean?
Black lemons have a sweet and tangy flavor with some caramelized notes and a popular ingredient in several middle eastern culinary traditions especially used in our favorite biryanis! Some Middle eastern countries have historically used dried lemons because they have limited access fresh fruits and vegetables. The fruit assists in purging the intestines of any unfriendly bacteria with high levels of Vitamin C and is a great complement to meat and dairy heavy diets.
As part of an exposure visits in my graduation I had a wonderful opportunity to visit a kalanimbu processing unit at Chinna orampadu village at kadapa district, Andhra Pradesh where fresh yellow lemons are dried under sun for few days and later undergoes steaming process finally turns black color and after grading,they are packed and exported to different countries.
Steps involved in preparation of Black lemon
- Procuring lemons from nearby farmers in different districts like Kadapa, Gudur( Nellore), Chittoor of Andhra Pradesh
- Drying of lemons carried out in two ways ,initially sun drying of lemons for 2 months and later placing these lemons in iron crates and placed in steam boilers.
- The dehydrated black lemons are again shade dried for about 3-4 days
- Grading of black lemons done manually based on their size ,shape, texture and removes all defective and decayed lemons
- Round glossy shaped kala Nimbu are packed in plastic polythene bags of about 25kg weight and are exported to gulf countries.
Benefits of Black lemon
Black lemon has the reputation as a colon cleanser and major digestive aid. This fruit is also aids to reduce toxins in is the liver and intestinal tract.
It has calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, all of which aids in producing new cells in various systems throughout the body. In addition to all of these minerals, black lemon also has high amounts of Vitamin D, which is necessary to strengthen bones and maintain flexibility.
Black lemon enhances the potential synergy of many herbs and is thought to balance hydration when used with detoxifying botanicals and also decreases bad cholestrol level.
The unique combination of sweet, piquant and browned sugars makes it a perfect addition to enhance some tea blends. And aslo good substitute for tamarind.
India is the largest producer of citrus fruits in the world where lemon is also plays major role in it but farmers faces a loss when there is no price in the market when there is glut. So by converting fresh lemons in to dried black lemons can increase the farmers income when there is glut in the market and serve the purpose of consumers who are of fond of using these lemons as digestive aid. The longevity of horticulture products is less so by using above such processing technology would save much of the produce and can make many flavorsome products.