Maybe you always thought that pickling at home was complicated and time consuming. Maybe you assumed that you wouldn’t be good at it. But neither has to be true. You already know what you love (lemon, mango, tomato etc). Learning to preserve is simply a matter of finding new ways to put these ingredients in the form of a pickle.
How you ask: Master one new recipe each month. One time it might be lime pickle, another it’s carrot. There is no shortage of sources for simple, straightforward pickle recipes that anyone can do in very little time. Opt for the simplest and the best tasting. In a year, you will have 12 delicious, homemade pickle preserves in your kitchen shelf ready to satisfy your cravings.
My favorite among easy pickle recipes is lemon pickle. The success of lemon pickle depends on lemon juiciness, skin (rind) thickness and size of the fruit. Key limes are perfect for lemon pickle because of their small size, thin skin and ample juice. Pickle and wait for two weeks. They would be ready for consumption. They also look similar to the limes we get in India. With regular US limes, we have to wait much longer because it takes time for them (rind) to get softened.
Key limes are in season right now, and I bought 50 key limes for two dollars at Canino’s farmers market, last weekend. A tasty, traditional pickle that doesn’t use tons of oil or sugar sounded like a great use of these fresh key limes. And that is exactly what we did with them. The recipe directions are from my mother-in-law. Here is my humble attempt with bota boti inglepeesh translation of the directions. Hope they are clear enough for you to follow. Join “Pickle a Month Sangham”, prepare pickles at home and enjoy.
Key Lime Pickle (నిమ్మకాయ ఉరగాయ)
(Quantity is for a family of two, for three to six months)
50 key limes
15 regular sized limes for juice or 3 cups of limejuice
1½ cups iodine-free salt or sea salt
3/4 cup red chilli powder
1/8 cup methi (fenugreek) seeds
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon hing (asafetida)
Clean glass jar, big size (2 to 2.5 quarts) and muslin cloth
The preparation is four steps. Cut some, juice some, grind some and finish off with popu touch.
1. Key Limes: Wash key limes thoroughly. Pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. Place them under afternoon sun on a clean cotton cloth for sun drying. After about 3 to 4 hours, bring them inside. Rub and wipe off any moisture with kitchen towel. Cut key limes into halves and quarters. Remove seeds as many as possible for clean flavor.
2. Limes: Wash, dry and cut into halves. Squeeze juice and keep it ready in a cup on the side. For 50 key limes, we need at least 3 cups of limejuice.
3. Methi seeds: Dry roast methi seeds in a hot skillet. Cool and grind into fine powder.
4. Pickle Popu: Heat a tablespoon of peanut oil. Add hing. Toast for couple of seconds to fragrance. Turn off the heat. Keep aside to cool to room temperature.
Take the cut key limes in a big vessel suitable for mixing.
Add limejuice, chilli powder, salt, methi powder and pickle popu.
With a clean spoon, add the pickle to a glass jar. Remove the lid and cover the glass jar opening with a muslin cloth. Keep the jar on the counter-top, and mix the pickle once a day for a week. Always use clean and dry spoons, and take caution not to add any water or moisture. After a week, remove the muslin cloth and cover the jar tightly with lid.
In two weeks, the lime rind will be softened and key lime pickle will be ready for consumption. We love to have this pickle with rice and dal/sambar/rasam or yogurt rice. Also tastes great with breakfast items like upma, pongal and applied on bread sandwiches.
Key Limes to Quarters
Lime Juice, Red Chilli Powder, Sea Salt, and Methi Seeds
Key lime Pickle in a Glass Jar