While the sun shines? Towards the end of summer?! So what if my timing is off? My lime pickle is ready! It's simply out-of-this-world-delicious! So maybe it's not practical for most folks in the northern latitudes to consider making this now but this recipe for a Lime Pickle, like my Lemon Pickle, is a keeper.
It is very similar to my Lemon Pickle: it is a family recipe, has no oil and is cooked in the sun. It has additional ingredients: green chillies, ginger, and whole fenugreek seeds; and it does not have red chilli powder.
I put this pickle together in the last week of July, knowing that I did not have much time to cook it in the sun. So for those of you who are already experiencing cool nights and nippy mornings, this may not be something you want to consider making this year. Unless you have a window that gets at least 4 hours of bright sun every day. The jar must get very warm for this pickle to cook. My sister who lives in Bombay usually puts this together in December or January.
- 10 limes, reserve 1 for juice
- 30 green Thai chillies
- 3/4 cup julienned ginger
- 1 tablespoon whole methi seeds, to be added whole
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup salt
- 3 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp methi seeds, to toast and grind
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp powdered hing (asafoetida)
- Quarter 9 limes, reserving 1 for juice later, after slicing off the stalk scars. Pick limes with few blemishes and smooth skins. Wash the limes well, making sure that any outer wax has been washed off. Dry well. There must be no moisture on the limes.
- Wash and dry the green chillis. Use less if you can't take the heat; more if you want to up the heat! Cut the stem off and cut each green chilli into two.
- Wash and dry a 2 inch piece of ginger. Peel it and julienne into slices that are about an inch long. I used about 3/4 cup of julienned ginger.
- Add 1 tablespoon of whole fenugreek seeds.
- Add the salt, sugar and the turmeric powder.
- Toast 1 tsp methi seeds, the mustard seeds and the powdered hing (asafoetida) for 4-5 minutes until the methi seeds are nicely tanned. I got distracted for a minute and mine got sunburnt.
Cool completely and grind them to a fine powder in your coffee grinder or spice grinder and add it to the jar.
- Squeeze the juice of 1 lime into the jar. Shake the jar well and set it out in the sun to cook.
- Give it a good shake as you bring it in and put it out every day. Open it once every couple of weeks to adjust it for taste as well as to check to see how well it's cooking.
- When the juices have thickened and the peel soft, it's ready. This lime pickle took 4 weeks in the Colorado sun. My sister says it takes about 2 months for hers to pickle completely in Bombay. Let it rest for 4-5 days in a dark and cool place. Then spoon it - a very dry spoon always - into smaller jars and refrigerate to make it last that much longer.
The taste is very different from my lemon pickle. It has a different zing to it. The ginger packs a wonderful punch and the aroma of the green chillies makes this pickle extra special. The methi seeds look like they wanted to begin sprouting but stopped short and are a delight to chew on.
I had to keep Medha at bay every time I opened this pickle to check on taste and just to give it a good stir. She has given her unequivocal thumbs up to this lime pickle! I have been declared the best mother in this whole world - because I make her favorite pickles! First the lemon pickle, now the lime pickle! As always, I am very grateful for the way she looks at life, especially since it is still filled with flattery for me!
The amount of juices released in this pickle from the lime, ginger and the green chillies had me worried. It took a good 15 days of warming in the hot sun before they started to thicken. We had our share of days with near 100F temperatures, but we also had far too many overcast and rainy days. I was worried because I've been warned that too much moisture leads to mold and fungus. But this pickle did really well. Perhaps the green chilli and lime combination helped ward off the evil!