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EC: Instant Pot Lemons Are Basically Candy
Credit: Photo by Yagi Studio via Getty Images

My doctor wants me to eat lemons for breakfast. Yes, the same doctor who also wants me to consume heaping fistsful of jerky in the morning. She's got notions about what's going to heal my messed-up gut and I am in no position to argue. But lemons, man. Not just drinking lemon water for breakfast like all the swanky ladies do—she's adamant that I eat the peel, too, and suggested that I buy my breakfast lemons organic for that reason. I love lemons. In aggregate, I probably eat more lemons than I do any other fruit because they're so incredibly versatile, but I'm not out there raw-dogging wedges. The lemons are zested and squeezed and otherwise processed because it's all just a bit too much pucker for a morning meal.

The good doctor suggested that I could freeze whole lemons or lemon wedges and toss them in a smoothie, rind and all, but I found a better way completely by accident. I pressure cook the lemons in an Instant Pot, and they pretty much turn into grown-up candy. I'm a huge fan of pairing rind-on lemons with chicken, beef, and fish, and as a matter of habit, have taken to throwing them in the Instant pot along with aromatics like onions and garlic.

Pretty quickly, I realized that I enjoyed eating the pressure-cooked lemons as much or more as the main protein. The peel softens to a fork-tender, spreadable mush that's redolent with heady citrus oils (seriously, why do we ever throw peels away?) and the juice provides that tart, wake-me-up bite that apparently all the celebs are just wacky about. Apparently it's a vitamin C thing for sure, and an "alkalizing your body" thing if you care to trust the medical acumen of Goop.

In any case, Instant Pot lemons are madly delicious and could barely be simpler. Just quarter as many as you'd like, put them in the Instant Pot with enough liquid as you'd like to cover the bottom. I'm in a no-sugar phase, myself (thanks, doc), so I just go with water, but feel free to make it juice, or add the sweetener of your choice to a little bit of water. Close, hit the "poultry" button and walk away. When the cycle is finished, do a quick release. You're done.

I've been mixing the excess liquid with a little seltzer once it's cooled and chugging that for a thrill, but discard if you'd like. Take the lemons out and give them a taste. If they need sweetening, hit 'em with some sugar or honey, and eat straight out of the bowl, or use them to top oatmeal, baked goods, grain bowls, toast, waffles, or whatever else strikes your fancy. If you've got extra, just store them in a sealed container in the fridge and grab a spoonful whenever you'd like a quick lemon hit. It's what my doctor ordered.