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Lemon Peel, Li Hing Mui, and the Origin of Ken's Korner

Rows of crack seed jars via Edible Hawaiian Islands

 

What is lemon peel?

These are preserved lemons that have been dried, salted and aged.  This is then chopped up fine and sprinkled onto our gummy candies

What is Li Hing?

Li Hing mui loosely translates into “traveling plum”,  It was brought over to Hawaii by Chinese Immigrants in the 1900’s.  It is dried preserved Chinese plum. It provides a flavor combination of sweet, salty and sour. Today it comes in many varieties and the preserved/pickled plum skin is ground up into a powder that has gained great popularity.  In Hawaii the Li Hing powder is sprinkled on everything from fruits to popular cocktails.  

   In the early 70’s I was introduced to my first taste of Li Hing mui and instantly was drawn by its sweet and sour taste.  I can remember going to the store with my mother and while my siblings were picking out chocolate and ice cream as their treats I always chose a package of seeds( as we called it).  Back then there was one main brand, Yick Lung.  It was sold in an array of sizes which ranged from 25 cents to $2.  You could also find many mom and pop stores that sold these delectable goodies in glass jars.  I remember when Star Wars came out, my dad took my brother and I to the Cinerama theater and although I was excited for the movie, the highlight was the packages of seeds for sale.  I did not care about popcorn or candy.  All I wanted was  Li Hing Mui.  

     One of my favorite times of the year was Christmas.  My mom had a recipe to make prune mui which combines Li hing mui with dried fruits and a tangy sweet and sour sauce.  I helped to make it every year to give as gifts. As I got older and had kids of my own, I tweaked the recipe and made it often for friends and family.  People started to request me to make it year round.  One day I was experimenting with gummy candies and my prune mui sauce and some lemon peel and my son  started filming me for fun.  He posted his video on his social media and he was instantly flooded with requests to purchase the candies. That night my son created a logo and IG account and a month later my oldest son had made us a website. My daughter wrote the business plan and Ken’s Korner LLC was born.


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