Whole lemon in a can?
May 14, 2016 1:42 PM   Subscribe

My wife is hooked on the Norwegian cooking show New Scandinavian Cooking. In this episode the host casually opens a tin can and pulls out a whole fresh lemon.

Wait, what? Is this a thing? Can you buy a whole lemon in a can, or is this a joke that just went over our heads?
posted by Eddie Mars to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Preserved lemons? It's a thing! You can even make them. You can also get them (or at least, I can) in the little antipasto/olive bar at Whole Foods.

I enjoy smushing them around in a plastic bag with a pork loin, letting it sit for a few hours, and then roasting it.

*Apologies if you already know about this and were referring to just a dry regular lemon coming out of a can. Never heard of that.
posted by sallybrown at 1:54 PM on May 14, 2016


Lemons can be kept from decaying by being stored in argon gas. Canned lemons were a staple since only the rich could afford fresh lemons in Norway until relatively recently and they can't grow out of doors there.
posted by parmanparman at 1:58 PM on May 14, 2016 [17 favorites]


Here"s a link to the clip referenced in the OP. Bristling Sprats
posted by tippy at 3:34 PM on May 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I am sorry. I've never seen that kind of canned lemons in Scandinavia. And I have Norwegian friends who would love to drop those off as gifts. We usually get our lemons from the fruit aisle, along with oranges, bananas and other exotic fruits.
posted by Rabarberofficer at 4:36 PM on May 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


In tippy's Youtube link, in the comments, someone says the lemon is a joke.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:41 PM on May 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


yeah, this page is the first hit for a search for "fresh lemon can argon gas norway" and then a bunch of useless pages. You had me for a minute though, parmanparman .
posted by rockindata at 7:22 PM on May 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


At the :34 mark of tippy's video link you can see that when the can is opened the lemon is nestled on a white cloth or napkin.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:27 PM on May 14, 2016


Argon:

1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/4765673/Packaging-with-argon-helps-keep-food-fresh.html

2. Google Books

I wish it were more known about, but storing fruits and vegetables in a variety of stable gases such as argon, helium, and nitrogen is pretty common these days for vegetables grown in one place and shipped to another.
posted by parmanparman at 2:17 AM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was not saying there were canned in Argon. En-masse, fruits and vegetables can be stored coolly in earth gases to prevent decay. Canned lemons are different and made like canned grapefruit. I was not suggesting that in Norway lemons are canned in Argon.
posted by parmanparman at 8:08 AM on May 15, 2016


It is true that some foods are packed in inert gasses to extend their shelf life. Mostly chips and crackers, precut salad, and pizza, it seems. But don't get distracted, folks.

WE ARE STILL LOOKING FOR A CANNED LEMON!!!
posted by SLC Mom at 9:46 AM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


At the :34 mark of tippy's video link you can see that when the can is opened the lemon is nestled on a white cloth or napkin.

What kind of canned good has a napkin inside the can? I smell something fishy, and it's NOT the brisling sardines.

But, on the other hand, what would be the point of faking a canned lemon?

This is going to itch at me.
posted by sallybrown at 10:26 AM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Are you guys sure this is not a subtle joke at the fact that he was using canned sardines for this dish? Because I'm pretty sure that's what it is. (i.e. how can something so tasty be from a can? oh wait, smoked sprats packed in oil with some fresh lemon juice squeezed on top!)
posted by scalespace at 4:07 PM on May 15, 2016


Hmm, at :39 there's an overhead shot of the can and it looks like that cloth is actually packing peanuts. I still think it's a joke prop.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:35 PM on May 15, 2016


I wrote an email to the producer. Will update when more information is available.
posted by parmanparman at 1:40 PM on May 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


It must be a joke - but what is so funny about it?
In the rest of Scandinavia, it's a joke that fruit and veg are incredibly expensive in Norway.
posted by mumimor at 12:57 AM on May 18, 2016


Update:

Hi John,

Thanks for watching our series. However, the canned lemons is not something you can buy here in Norway. Follow the link to get a recipe.

How to Make Preserved Lemons
http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_preserved_lemons/

Jan-Erik Lustig
Regissør/Produsent
Director/Producer
posted by parmanparman at 1:26 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


So I asked...

Thank you for getting back to me. Does this mean that for the segment, the host/chef previously prepared a canned lemon for the recipe? Why did he choose a canned lemon instead of a fresh lemon?

Producer's reply:

Hi again John,

Acctually, the main reason was to keep the main theme in the program, using preserved produce while cooking. And what better way to also include the lemon, a fruit that does not grow naturally in Scandinavia. In general it is also a few things or happenings introduced in our episodes for our viewers to remember. Like lemon in a tin box, or shrimps served in an ice-cream cone, or making ice-cream with a billiard ball etc. playful and fun.

So, if you don’t have a lemon tree in your garden, I suggest that you use the fresh version!

posted by parmanparman at 6:21 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ah I was just about to say that I appreciated the response but it felt oddly unsataisfying since it didn't address the joke part. Thanks for the follow-up!
posted by Room 641-A at 6:26 AM on June 6, 2016


Then, I asked him (h/t to Scalespace):

Are you guys sure this is not a subtle joke at the fact that he was using canned sardines for this dish? Because I'm pretty sure that's what it is. (i.e. how can something so tasty be from a can? oh wait, smoked sprats packed in oil with some fresh lemon juice squeezed on top!)

He said:

Yes, or fresh grilled Portugese sardines in Lisbon around the 13th of June, served with a fresh squeeze of lemon – I agree. However, it was also playful and fun, to use canned sardines and canned lemon as they do in the far east, in Portugal or as you saw in Norway.

And yes, it was a subtle playfulness to use canned fish and lemon.

posted by parmanparman at 3:50 AM on June 7, 2016


Amazing! Well done, sir.
posted by Eddie Mars at 5:22 PM on June 8, 2016


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