Indian Lemon/Lime Pickles
This recipe is featured in Whole Fruit Cooking: Indian Lemon/Lime Pickles from Leftover Rinds
Adapted from Usha’s Pickle Digest: The Perfect Pickle Recipe Book Paperback – November 2, 1998.
- 1.1 kg (2 1/2 pounds) lemon/lime (peels, halves, whole) preferably organic, saved over time in the freezer
- 156 ml (2/3 cup) fine salt
- 22 ml (1 ½ tablespoons) turmeric powder
- 22 ml (1 ½ tablespoons) fenugreek seeds or powder (can be bought online, at spice stores or Indian grocery stores)
- 518 ml (2 cups + 3 tablespoons) peanut or sesame oil
- 78 ml (1/3 cup) black mustard seeds
- 156 ml (2/3 cup) chili powder
- 10 ml (2 teaspoons) asafoetida (optional, can be bought online or at Indian grocery stores)
Adjust spices and ingredients to the quantity of lemon/lime you have saved.
Defrost lemon rinds (picture 1).
Cut lemon in bite size pieces (small dice roughly .6 cm/¼ inch), slightly larger cuts are okay too. (picture 2) Transfer to a large glass container with a fitted lid. Make sure the container can handle hot liquid.
Sprinkle salt on top of the cut lemon. Stir and set aside at room temperature for 2 days. (picture 3).
Stir a couple of times each day.
Add turmeric, stir and set aside for 2 more days.
Continue stirring a couples of times each day.
In a medium size frying pan toast the fenugreek seeds to a dark brown color under low-medium flame. Grind them. If using ground fenugreek, toast to the same color. (picture 4)
In the same pan heat the 3 tablespoons of oil, add the mustard seeds, stir. When a few seeds start to sputter (popping sound), add chili powder and stir for a couple of minutes to roast the chili powder.
Add to the lemon mixture with the ground fenugreek and asafoetida, if using.
Heat oil to 177°C (350°F) (frying temperature). Pour the hot oil onto the lemon mixture, mix well and let stand to cool. Oil should come .6 to 1.3 cm (¼ to ½ inch) above the mixture. If the mixture looks dry you can add oil as needed. Over time the maceration will perfume the oil. (picture 5)
Store the pickles in jars. Pickles will last several weeks in the fridge. They freeze well for several months. (picture 6)
NOTES: If you are not using organic limes or lemons, wash them thoroughly before juicing them or using part of their rind in other recipes.
Save unused lemons / limes in an airtight bag in the freezer until you have enough. Keep adding to the bag.
Indian pickles are meant to be spicy hot. If you have a low resistance to chili you can reduce it to a tolerable amount.
Salt amount can be reduced.
The recipe is fairly versatile, play with it, you have nothing to lose, you were going to throw the rinds away anyway!