Pickle a Month ~ Key Lime Pickle

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.
Mix thoroughly.

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.

Here is the Key Lime Pickle Preparation in Images:

Key Limes to Quarters
Key Lime Quarters

Bring the Ingredients Together:
Lime Juice, Red Chilli Powder, Sea Salt, and Methi Seeds
Lime Juice, Red Chilli Powder, Sea Salt, and Methi Seeds

Mixing the ingredients together

Key lime Pickle in a Glass Jar
Key lime Pickle in a Glass Jar

© Recipe and Photos Copyright 2009 Indira Singari.


25 Responses to “Pickle a Month ~ Key Lime Pickle”

  1. Bhavana says:

    Looks very tempting!
    I am also one of those who think pickling is a hard thing. Would love to join the Pickle a month club. Key lime pickle reads easy enough, will start with this one. Thanks for the wonderful recipe and photos.

  2. kalva says:

    Wow lovely pickle. Nanamma makes the same way.

  3. sreelu says:

    very tempting pics, looking forward to your monthly recipes !!

  4. Jyoti says:

    This key lime pickle looks so tempting! Will try it for sure!

  5. mona says:

    Nimbu ka Achaar looks very good Indira. I had also prepared a small amount just the last week. Yummy!

  6. arundati says:

    mouthwatering!! i’ll have mine with some perugu annam!!

  7. vineela says:

    Hi Indira,
    Pictures are great and the procedure too.I made lemon pickle and gongura pachadi 3 weeks before.
    vedi annam tho nimmakaya pickle,perugannam tho nimmakaya pickle ruchiki tirugundadu kada.
    Thanks for sharing auntys recipe.

  8. Kay says:

    I loved your other lemon pickle, Indira! Will try this soon, ofcourse with lesser red chilli powder. 🙂

    Btw, I have to tell you this. An elderly uncle who tried my lemon pickle (your prev. recipe) automatically assumed that it was the elders backhome who had made the pickle and I had brought it to Toronto and made comments about how good it was and how elders make such good pickle. When he was informed that I made it, he had to pick his jaw off the floor. He just couldn’t believe it that I had made that. 🙂 So, dear Indira, thank you very much for the recipe and getting me to start pickling.

  9. BDSN says:

    Hi …The photos are so good..It is making me drool already!!! My little one is doing goood…He is 2+ now and you know what that means…terrible twos and it is true to every word of it…..he is keeping me alert all the time….anyway thanks for asking!!!

  10. Cilantro says:

    I made the pickle from the lime I bought at Costco-the big ones. It took time to get soaked and soften but the taste was too good.

  11. DK says:

    I have lemons growing in abundance in my backyard and have been meaning to make lemon pickle for a while now! I usually make my mom’s recipe but this time I will try this 🙂 A good recipe at the right moment….thanks Indira 🙂

  12. Diane says:

    What a wonderful idea! I cook a lot of Indian food, and have finally mastered breads. But must admit to being intimidated by pickles. This will give me the incentive to get over that & start pickling.

  13. Zom says:

    I have been putting off delving into the world of pickles for some time now…this is just the inspiration I need. Yours look wonderful and so inviting! Thank you!

  14. madhuri says:

    What a coincidence, I just go yellow lemons during the weekend to keep lemon pickle… iM not sure if you are checking my comments…I never see any responses for my comments 🙁 but just want to find out if the procedure i s same for yellow lemons as im replacing to yellow instead of key limes….as its cloudy in dallas, i didnt try… just waiting for peak temp to keep the lemon pickle.Appreciate ur response.

  15. vicky says:

    Hi Indira, Could you please tell me how to prepare red chilli powder at home if you are doing so? If not do you have recommendations for any particular brands? Thanks!

  16. Vrinda says:

    Very tempting spicy pickle…

  17. Hi,
    Very Nice Snaps.. This is my favorite pickle..Looks sooo yummm… I love this with perugannam.. and Vuppu nimmakaya kooda perugannam ki manchi side dish..
    Sri Krishnudiki meegada perugannam tho nimmakaya pickle chala istamata ekkado chadivanu.. mee pics chusthunte gurthochhindi… anyway thank you so much for the recipe.. 🙂


    Hari Chandana.

  18. Karthi says:

    Hi Indira:
    I am definitely going to try them. Hope everyone is doing good.. I love your garden pic and i know you enjoy your garden, it is soothing, inviting and tempting 😉
    I have always wanted to try pickle, and always feel it is something to do with the involving hands: recently i got a bottle lemon pickle made by maternal gandma and is absolutely delicious and relish them..this looks good, i found bags of key limes in TJ’s.. i will let you know whenever i try them.

  19. Madhuram says:

    Indira, when you mentioned in your previous post that you bought 25 key limes for 1$, I guessed that you are going to post a pickle recipe soon. Very refreshing pictures. I have to see the other recipe too which Kay has mentioned.

  20. Linda says:

    Love the pickles with so little oil — if I see key limes I will certainly give this a try! Loved the photos of the fresh farmer’s market, too 🙂

  21. tigress says:

    this looks like a wonderful recipe! i have never used key limes when i make lime pickle, but you have inspired me to try. i am STILL waiting for my lime pickles to be done that i started 7 weeks ago. i made it from regular american limes with very thick skins which are taking forever to soften!

  22. Ranjan says:

    Indira, the pickle looks so so good. I must try and find some small limes now as I am pickle addict (ready made) but am going to try this receipe. By the way the Dahi Mirchi turned out wonderful as we have had a mini heatwave here in the UK they have dried perfectly. Thank you and your mother in law for sharing these recipes.

  23. Indira says:

    Bhavana: Welcome to the Pickle a Month Sangham.
    I look forward to reading about your keylime pickle experience.

    Kalva, Sreelu, Jyothi: Thanks.

    Mona: That’s great! How did you make it? Did you add anything extra/special?

    Arundati: Thanks. Me too.

    Vineela: Gongura too? Yum! Nenu inka gongura mokkalu peddaga kaavalani chustunnanu.

    Dear Kay, I remember our notes for that pickle recipe.:) So glad to read that you had great experience with lemon pickle. Thank you for your sunshine like comments.

    BDSN: He must be keeping you busy. Looking forward to reading more about your cutie-pie at your blog.

    Cilantro: The regular limes, they take some time but make tasty pickle.

    DK: First plums, now you write lemons. Can we exchange our backyards, please? 🙂

    Diane: Congratulations on mastering the chapati and parathas. Well, pickles are a breeze to make. Only difficult thing in this health-conscious times is finding people who enjoy them.:)

    Zoom: Thanks and look forward to reading your experience of this pickle.
    Have you tried chapatis (frozen section, 30 for $6) at Costco? They make good meal with a side dish.

    Hello Madhuri:
    Thanks for all your nice comments. I greatly appreciate your notes.
    With lemons, I think you have to add more lime/lemon juice and also salt. And it would take more than two weeks for them to get softened. But lemon pickle taste wonderful. All the best.
    Please let me know the changes to the quantity you have made if you try this pickle with regular lemons. Thanks.

    Vicky: The chilli powder photographed is homemade at Nandyala. I, myself don’t make chilli powder at home here. I usually buy or get it from India. Aashirwaad brand, lal mirchi powder.

    Hari Chandana: Mine too.:) Thanks.

    Hi Karthi: Thanks for the good words. Let me know how you like this pickle if you try.

    Madhuram: your guess is right.:) The other lemon pickle is at old website, 95 Archives. Check it out.

    Linda: I am adding your maple syrup to payasams and to pancakes. Parents are enjoying the flavor. Thank you for this wonderful gift.

    Tigress: The only thing with lemon/lime pickle is the wait period. Much longer compared to other pickle varieties. But I think the taste is worth the wait. Looking forward to seeing the lime pickle photos at your blog.

    Ranjan: So glad you could make those dahi mirchis at home.
    Like dahi mirchis, this pickle is also spicy and tangy. I think you are going to enjoy it.

  24. Rupa says:

    Just curious…could we use acar powder available in desi stores? I have made it with just chili powder like your recipe, then I thought that achar powder might be better? Not sure…appreciate your comments on it.

  25. Srivatsava says:

    I am very happy to see such beautiful photos and very good recipes.
    Kindly provide more details on diet plan also which will be more helpful for everyone of us.
    Thanks to everyone who participated in this wonderful job.
    Best Regards,
    Srivatsava Chimakurthi

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