Like instant ramen and popsicles, it all started from the leftovers: half a glass of a-little-too-salty salted lime drink, half a too-sour-to-eat orange, another half glass of normal lemonade (although Little Mom’s lemonade is not quite like any other lemonade, in a good way), and an ounce of reasoning. There was no sense in keeping them separately. The combined power shines a sweet yellow of tourmaline, smells like an orchard near the harvesting season, and tastes good enough to get me all poetically cheesy.
Below is Little Mom’s recipe for the salted lime. As for the recipe of this “tricitronnade”, I would imagine that the orange doesn’t have to be sour.
Vietnamese Salted Lime (Chanh muối)
Step 1: zest the limes. You can do this by shaving off the zest (flavedo) with a peeler or rubbing the limes on a rough surface until it loses most of its green color. But keep the white pith (albedo) in tact; if the albedo breaks and the juice leaks out, that lime is no good to make salted lime.
Step 2: blanch the zested limes. Then leave them out to cool.
– Boil salt water. For every 12 limes, mix 14 cups of water with 1 cup of salt and boil.
– Let the salt water cool.
– In a clear plastic/glass jar, submerge the blanched limes in the salt water. Cover.
– Put the jar under sunlight for 1 week. I asked Mom if the jar can be opaque (like a clay jar), and she said that she has only seen chanh muối made in translucent jars. I guess you want the limes to see the sun, not just feel the heat.
– Discard the liquid after 1 week.
Repeat Step 3 three times, but for the last week, keep the liquid. By now the limes should expand to the size of lemons, their peels are melting soft, they can be eaten whole, and they stay good forever. Smash up one lime in water and add sugar to make 2 glasses of chanh muối.